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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 their fire 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 surged toward the Union left flank, smashed into it, and sent it falling back. This was the attack the Union commander, George Meade, had expected, but a desperate fight ensued as all reserves were thrown into the battle.
The Confederate army advanced to the base of the Round Tops but the difficult terrain and Union reserves prevented any further progress. The Union right was in difficult straits since the rebel troops had seized the Baltimore Pike and were threatening encirclement. (Continued below map)
After four hours of intense combat and near-total encirclement, the Army of the Potomac began a headlong retreat back towards Washington. The Union Army did not completely escape and ended up losing losing over 5,000 men as prisoners near Cemetery Ridge that could not move south fast enough.
Through superior mobility and aggressive use of initiative, the battle was a clear Confederate victory and 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, President Lincoln began to seek a negotiated end to the war -- on Southern terms.
The South had won the war at Gettysburg.