Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

Gettysburg: The Second Day

When was Lee awake? What did he decide?

Lee was awake by 3:30, and he had his first view of the federal position by 5:00. What he saw should have dismayed him, but it did not.

Lee had, by this time in his career, trapped or enticed the Federals on several occasions. He had often seized the superior ground and lured his foe into attacking him, usually with disastrous results. This time, Lee did not fully recognize that it was he and the Confederates who were standing on the “low” ground, looking up at formidable natural defenses. He heard the clank of shovels and knew that the Union men were entrenching, but even this did not deter him. Therefore, when he met General Longstreet at breakfast, Lee declared his intention to hit the enemy hard.


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