The Civil War And Its Ending Of — страница 3
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high on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Considered by the Confederates an impregnable fortress, Vicksburg resisted Union attacks, and Grant’s army bogged down in the rugged terrain guarding the north and east approaches to the city. Encouraged by the victory, Lee seized the initiative and moved his army into the North. Such an action, he hoped, would relieve the pressure on beleaguered Confederate forces in the West and induce a war-weary North to agree to a negotiated peace. In June, a Confederate army of 75,000 men marched through the Shenandoah Valley into southern Pennsylvania. The Army of the Potomac, numbering about 85,000 and now commanded by General George G. Meade, moved to check Lee’s advance. These two massive armies converged on the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and on July 1 a battle began that many observers consider a turning point of the Civil War. In maneuvering for position, Union forces managed to occupy strategic high ground south of Gettysburg. Lee’s army attacked the position at various points, only to be thrown back. On July 3, after an intensive artillery duel, Lee ordered General George E. Pickett to charge the center of the Union lines at Cemetery Ridge, Pennsylvania. The attack failed. With his army suffering heavy casualties, Lee retreated, only to be blocked by the flooded Potomac River. Much to Lincoln’s dismay, however, Meade failed to exploit his advantage, and Lee’s shattered army was eventually able to retreat into northern Virginia. Yet again, Lee had sacrificed an enormous portion of his army in the ill-fated attack. In late March, the Army of the Potomac, numbering 115,000 men, began its march.