Was Gettysburg the Bloodiest Battle in American History?

The Battle of Gettysburg is one of the most famous battles in American history, and it’s often referred to as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. But was it really the bloodiest battle in American history? Let’s take a closer look.

The Battle of Gettysburg

In July of 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee led his army into Pennsylvania, hoping to win a major victory on Union soil. The two armies collided at Gettysburg, where they fought for three days in some of the most brutal and intense fighting of the entire war.

The Casualties

So how many casualties were there at Gettysburg? The exact number is difficult to determine, but historians estimate that there were around 51,000 total casualties over the course of the three-day battle. This includes both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed, wounded, or went missing.

Comparing to Other Battles

While 51,000 casualties is certainly a staggering number, it’s important to remember that there were other battles in American history with even higher casualty rates. For example:

  • The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) was fought in September of 1862 and resulted in around 23,000 casualties.
  • The Battle of Chickamauga was fought in September of 1863 and resulted in around 34,000 casualties.
  • The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was fought in May of 1864 and resulted in around 30,000 casualties.


So while the Battle of Gettysburg was certainly a bloody and devastating battle with a high number of casualties, it wasn’t actually the bloodiest battle in American history. However, its significance in the Civil War and its impact on American history cannot be overstated. It was a turning point in the war and a major victory for the Union army, and it’s still remembered and commemorated today.