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Decision 4 of 4
Result: Decisive 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 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 surged toward the Union right flank, smashed into it, and sent it falling back beyond the Baltimore Pike. The Union commander, General George Meade, had expected an attack from the opposite direction and was caught unawares.
Longstreet's other divisions on the Union left were able to reach the Taneytown Road and cut it off for hours until driven partially back by intensive, but very costly Union cavalry charges. In the east, the Pickett was able to capture Rock Creek Bridge and a sizeable slice of the Baltimore Pike. (Continued below map)
After four hours of intense combat and near-total encirclement, the Army of the Potomac began a headlong flight back towards Washington. The Union Army did not completely escape and ended up losing losing over 10,000 men as prisoners near Cemetery Ridge.
The battle was over and it had been a disaster for the Army of the Potomac. The rebels rampaged throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even into New York over the next month. Great Britain and France recognized the Confederacy as a nation and shortly thereafter and President Lincoln began to seek a negotiated end to the war -- on Southern terms.
The South had won the war at Gettysburg.