The Index – 16 July 1863
A page from 16 July 1863, showing The Index’s first report about the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought two weeks previously. The newspaper comments dramatically that the fighting is ‘the event on which the destinies of the Northern Republic depend’.
Historians have long debated whether Gettysburg was a turning-point in the Civil War but it is clear that news of the three-day battle, which resulted in the largest casualty figures of the conflict, impacted the home-front on both sides.
The Index article comments that news of the battle is sparse and where there are details, they focus on Union losses. It also notes that ‘possibly by this time the crisis of the war is over’, an indication of the size of the battle and hope that Confederate victory would have led to the collapse of Union fighting power.