The Battle of Gettyburg was the pivotal battle of the Civil War. The three day battle (July 1-3, 1863) started when Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacked the Union position in an attempt to invade the North after successful battles in Northern Virginia. Gettysburg was defended by Major General George G. Meade who arrived at Gettysburg three days before the battle began. The Confederate Army began its Retreat from Gettysburg on July 4, 1863 following the resounding defeat after (Maj. Gen. George) Pickett’s Charge on Cemetery Hill.

The Battle of Gettysburg is considered the turning point of the American Civil War because of the morale boost it provided the Union forces. But when the battle was over, there was no mistaking the cost of this battle in that between 46,000 and 51,000 Americans died on the battlefield.

The Gettysburg National Cemetery was dedicated on November 19, 1863 with speeches from Edward Everett and President Abraham Lincoln. Everett’s two-hour formal speech at the event preceded Lincoln’s 271-word Gettysburg Address, a speech that proved Lincoln was not a good prognosticator: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here….”

The Gettysburg National Military Park came into existence on February 11, 1895 when President Grover Cleveland signed the legislation into law. Originally, the law required the park was to be administered by the War Department. In 1933, control was passed to the National Park Service.

On January 25, 2011, the U.S. Mint launched the The Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter held at park’s Museum and Visitors Center. U.S. Mint Associate Director for Sales and Marketing B. B. Craig and Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Bob Kirby co-hosted the event, with Barbara Finfrock, vice chair of the Gettysburg Foundation, serving as master of ceremonies.

The reverse of the quarter depicts the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument, which is located on the battle line of the Union Army at Cemetery Ridge. It was designed by Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and engraved by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.

As with previous releases, the U.S. Mint released an edited B-roll video of the launch with highlights, scenery, production footage.

This is the first quarter in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program representing a piece of United States history. We should always note and long remember what happened in Gettysburg and learn about the events leading up to the worst conflict in U.S. history so that we may never relive that history again.

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