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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

RST: Gettysburg 150 Day Three July 3, 1863

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 2, 2013 3:13 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, July 3:

12000 Confederate soldiers crossed this field in Pickett's Charge July 3 1863 300 x 170.jpg

Photo by Scott LaMar/witf

12000 Confederate soldiers crossed this field during Pickett's Charge July 3 1863

Radio Smart Talk broadcast live from the American Civil War Wax Museum and focuses on July 3, 1863 -- day three of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The third day of the Battle of Gettysburg is when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered a massive assault on the Union's front at Cemetery Ridge, which became known as Pickett's Charge.

Gen. Robert E. Lee's target 300 x 170.jpg

Gen. Lee's target was the Union line here.

After a thundering artillery barrage that was designed to soften the Union center but didn't have much impact because it was off target, twelve thousand Confederates, led by Gen. George Pickett marched across an open field toward the union lines.  The Rebels were cut down as they walked and only 600 actually reached the Union line.  In less than an hour, there were 6,800 casualties.

The failure of the frontal assault essentially ended the battle.  Lee's wounded army headed south.

President Abraham Lincoln wanted Union commander Gen. George Meade to pursue the enemy but Meade's army was tired too and he didn't press the pursuit. 

There's still controversy about whether Meade could have moved faster and trapped the Confederates on the northern side of the Potomac River thus ending the war.

That will be part of Wednesday's discussion with Ben Neely of the Adams County Historical Society, Dr. Allen Guelzo, the director of the Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College and author of the new book, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, and Gen. Robert E. Lee himself.

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