Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863
The Army of Northern Virginia Moves North
How ready was the Army of Northern Virginia?
It was, perhaps, at the best state it had ever been. The Confederate conscription had brought the regiments up to full strength, and the morale of the men had never been higher. They missed Stonewall Jackson badly, however, and they were in need of all sorts of supplies, shoes most especially. Though Lee did not say so outright, the need for equipment was one of the major reasons he desired to invade the North.
Lee knew that an invasion would be hazardous, but, much like in September 1862, he sensed that it was now or never.
A British observer noted that Lee’s men were in excellent spirits and that they expected to beat the Union men, whom they had thrashed on several occasions. Of course it was one thing to fight the Yankees in Virginia and another to encounter them on their own soil.