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Today in history: The Battle of Gettysburg begins
Within three days, 46,286 people were dead, wounded, or missing
 
Gettysburg National Military Park, circa 1976-77.
Gettysburg National Military Park, circa 1976-77. David Muench/Corbis

July 1, 1862: President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act, calling for the completion of the transcontinental railroad; it was completed on May 10, 1869. The government issued bonds to pay for the railroad; President Lincoln knew the investment would stimulate the U.S. economy and facilitate development of the western U.S.

July 1, 1863: President Lincoln knew that America's future was very much in doubt on this day, as the pivotal battle of the Civil War began — Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg lasted three days and produced the greatest number of casualties of the entire Civil War: 46,286 dead, wounded, or missing. Many historians call the Battle of Gettysburg the turning point of the Civil War, when Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North was stopped. The Civil War killed some 618,000 Americans in four years — about 2 percent of the nation's population.

July 1, 1980: President Carter signed a bill that provided two acres of land for the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

Quote of the Day

"The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just." —Abraham Lincoln

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