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After Gettysburg: Lee Retreats, Meade Pursues

ISBN: 9783868980097
Publisher: Pediapress
Publication Date: 2016-12-01
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  • Regular price $41.09

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In this book, Joe Mieczkowski studies the events after the Battle of Gettysburg, including the retreat of General Robert E. Lee and his pursuit by General George Meade. For three days in July 1863, Lee had hurled his army against the Federal positions. The Army of the Potomac under Meade drove back the Rebel fury. After the repulse known as Pickett's Charge, Lee's army was spent, and the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia had only one choice left to him - retreat. Meade would be criticized for his failure to aggressively pursue Lee. However, Meade would try to do that very thing in a series of little known battles throughout the summer and autumn of 1863.

The Battle of Gettysburg - which claimed 23,000 Union and 28,000 Confederate casualties came to be known as the High Water Mark of the Confederacy. Afterward, the tide of Confederate victory began to recede. For three hot days, July 1-3, 1863, General Robert E. Lee had hurled his soldiers against the Federal army. Although battered, the Army of the Potomac under Gen. George Gordon Meade drove back the Rebels. When Meade failed to attack on July 4, Lee pulled out and headed for Virginia. The next day, his opponent began a cautious pursuit. Small-unit skirmishes--mostly cavalry affairs--consumed the next ten days. But although the rain-swollen Potomac prevented the Army of Northern Virginia from returning to its namesake region until July 13-14, Meade failed to deliver a parting blow. When Lincoln bemoaned the loss of a precious opportunity to destroy Lee's command, the prideful Meade offered his resignation but eventually consented to stay on. He would lead the army through the balance of the war. Autumn 1863 was a season of maneuvering by both armies in the disputed area between the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers. It featured relatively few large engagements, mainly because both commanders, sensitive to recent manpower losses (Meade's Eleventh and Twelfth corps had been transferred to Tennessee to help Ulysses S. Grant lift the siege of Chattanooga), avoided a major confrontation. The largest clash occurred in mid-October when the crack Second Corps broke up a Confederate assault at Bristoe Station on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. In late November a promising drive below the Rapidan against Lee's right flank was blocked along Mine Run. This book provides a useful reference to the events after Gettysburg and the ultimate failure of the Federal Army to end the war in 1863.

Joe Mieczkowski is a Civil War historian and Licensed Battlefield Guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Joe is a past President of both the Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable and The Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides. He has two books to his credit including "Lincoln and his Cabinet" and "Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet." Joe is a resident of Fairfield, PA, living along the very roads on which Lee's army retreated.

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