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A New Birth of Freedom

5:10 PM, Jul 2, 2012 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
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Thus, at Gettysburg, Lee would not retreat until he had committed every unit he could command. Despite the fact that he was out-generalled by the cautious George Meade – who managed his army more adeptly – it was a narrowly-run thing. And, as Lincoln immediately understood and deeply lamented, as long as Lee remained in the field with any sort of force, the war would continue. Lee was ultimately beaten back to trench-lines around Richmond and staved off defeat until April 1865; he again became the “King of Spades” that he had been prior to the Seven Days.

Ironically, as Norman observes, Lee is commemorated more in the “tragic” defeat at Gettysburg than for his rather grim victory in the Seven Days. The massive equestrian statute of Marse Robert atop Traveller looks across from Seminary Ridge to the copse of trees on Cemetery Ridge where the southern tide ebbed and began to slip away, but not at those points where it first began to surge.

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