Decision 4 of 4
Result: Significant Confederate Victory
On the afternoon of July 3rd, a thunderous artillery barrage opened fire on the Union center. Northern guns returned the fire with solid effect, but were then ordered to cease after an hour and a half to convince the rebels that the artillery preparation had been successful. Little did they realize that it was a diversion.
Over fifteen thousand soldiers of Pickett's division and brigades from the Confederate I and III Corps smashed into the Union left south and east of the Round Tops. This was the attack the the Union commander, General George Meade, had expected and immediately threw his reserves into the fray. (Continued below map)
Fighting raged along the Taneytown pike for over five hours as the Confederate forces struggled to break through and envelop the Union forces. Meade began to withdraw his forces from the pocket and with valiant efforts of the Union rearguard, was able to escape with most of the army. Over 4,000 Union prisoners were taken, however, in the vicinity of Cememtery Hill.
The Army of the Potomac was sent reeling backward towards Washington where it licked it wounds while Lee burned out many parts of Pennsylvania and even Baltimore. Lee had scored a major victory, but not so complete that it destroyed the Union army and forced a negotiated peace. The Union losses were eventually replaced, the war dragged on even longer, but soon, a new Union General named Ulysses S Grant was in charge and Lee would never again invade the North.