Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

Verdict of the Newspapers

How did Lee make his escape?

On the night of July 4–5, 1863, the Confederates began to evacuate the battlefield. There was a little wind, which helped to disguise the sounds of their wagons, but it still seems incredible that the Army of the Potomac did not notice their departure. One possibility is that the Northern men were so eager, and anxious, to see the end of this battle that they simply ignored the Confederates leaving.

Had Meade sent the Army of the Potomac, which still numbered roughly 52,000 effectives, in pursuit, the chances are good that the Army of Northern Virginia would have, after putting up a good fight, simply surrendered. Each day that passed without a federal pursuit, however, allowed the Confederates to stiffen their backbone.


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