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[353] Gettysburg—a charge that well-nigh ended the war with ‘a clap of thunder,’ and was so characterized by brave design and dauntless execution that friend and foe alike burst into irrepressible praise of the great commander who directed and of the valorous men who made it. It failed. But Lee, unshaken, rallies the broken line, and the next morning stands in steady array, flaunting his banners defiantly, and challenging renewal of the strife. ‘It is all my fault,’ he says. Not so thought his men. We saw him standing by the roadside with his bridle-rein over his arm, on the second day afterwards, as the army was withdrawing. Pickett's division filed past him; every General of Brigade had fallen, and every field-officer of its regiments; a few tattered battle-flags and a few hundreds of men were all that was left of the magnificent body, 5,000 strong, who had made the famous charge. He stood with uncovered head, as if he reviewed a conquering host, and with the conqueror's look upon him. With proud step the men marched by, and as they raised their hats and cheered him there was the tenderness of devoted love, mingled with the fire of battle in their eyes.

Returning to Virginia in martial trim and undismayed, and followed by Meade with that slow and gingerly step which is selfex-plaining, we next behold our General displaying that rare self-poise and confidence which bespeaks ever a great quality—firmness of mind in war. In September, while he confronts Meade along the Rapidan, he detaches the entire corps of Longstreet, and ere Meade is aware of this weakening of his opponent's forces, Longstreet is nine hundred miles away, striking a terrible blow at Chickamauga.

The year 1863 passes by without other significant event in the story of the Army of Northern Virginia. Meade indeed, once in November, deployed his lines along Mine Run in seeming overtures of battle, but quickly concluding that ‘discretion was the better part of valor,’ he marched back across the Rappahannock, content with his observations.

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