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The golden opportunity The Potomac from Berlin Heights, July, 1863. Instead of a wall of steel in his rear, as might have happened, Lee met only open roads in his retreat after Gettysburg. After the failure of Pickett's charge, Lee and his generals began rallying their troops behind the guns as a protection against the counter-charge which all felt sure was bound to come. Hancock, lying in an ambulance, severely wounded, argued that as he had been struck by a ten-penny nail the Confederate ammunition must be exhausted. His deduction was correct, but although he summoned his waning strength to dictate an approval of the charge, should it be ordered, no advance was made. Meade could have sent forward an entire corps (Sedgwick's) which had not been engaged. By the afternoon of July 4th, Lee's shattered forces were in full retreat toward the Potomac, beyond which lay safety.

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