Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

Gettysburg: The Third Day

When did Lee make the decision to retreat?

On the night of July 3 to 4, 1863, Lee decided to retreat. His army had been badly mauled, and it was imperative to get back to Southern soil. Lee realized, however, that to retreat in the face of the enemy would be perilous; he therefore scheduled the beginning of the retreat for the night of July 4 to 5. The Confederates saw the pounding rain of the next day as good fortune in that the Yankees did not know of their departure.


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