On the morning of July 4th Lee faced his only choice, he must return to Virginia. But getting there was no easy task and would call on all of Lee’s capabilities for leadership.
As they began their dismal retreat, the rain came down in blinding sheets. Wounded men, lying on the boards of the wagons, were drenched. The pontoon bridge at Williamsport had been destroyed by the Federals, but the Confederates, digging furiously build a strong parapet and awaited the arrival of the Yankees.
Meade and the Army of the Potomac play cat and mouse with the Confederates. Meade continued to delay the attack until it was too late. The final escape was underway when Lee and his valiant Army of Northern Virginia crossed the river on a make ship bridge, using wood from torn down warehouses.
Before long, Lee was watching the last of his troops cross the Potomac, and then he ordered the bridge cut loose. In Washington, President Lincoln could not contain his despair. Lee had escaped to fight again – and the war would grind on for another 21 months