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Gen. Robert E. Lee arrived at Gettysburg at about 2:30 p.m., on July 1, 1863, and took control of the chaotic battle already in progress. In heavy fighting, Lee's veterans managed to dislodge Union soldiers clustered around the house of the widow Mary Thompson, capturing more than a thousand of them in a nearby railroad cut and driving many more back through the town. Lee quickly established his headquarters at the Thompson house, which was strategically located on Seminary Ridge. For the next three days, the home became a fortress, a field hospital, and the nerve center of the Confederate army. From there, Lee surveyed the Gettysburg battlefield and made the decisions that would forever change American history.
Left out of the Gettysburg National Military Park in the 1890s, the site of Lee's Headquarters has been in private hands ever since the battle. In that time, the site has largely been overrun by development and was once believed to be lost. Today, however, the Civil War Trust has the opportunity to purchase, restore, and reclaim this vital piece of American heritage. If successful, this effort—the result of years of working with the present owners—will save Lee's headquarters and the 4-acre tract on which it stands, the scene of fierce combat on July 1, 1863. This is, beyond a doubt, the most important preservation effort we've yet undertaken.
You Can Help Save Lee's Headquarters!