What did Union General George Meade do that enabled his forces to win at Gettysburg on the third day of battle?
The Battle of Gettysburg occurred just three days after General Meade's appointment to command. [ Using the most qualified of his corps commanders to act for him in the field, Meade arrived on the battleground late on July 1st where he learned the details of the death of his friend and mentor Reynolds. He decided to fight a defensive battle on the ground then held by the army south of the town.
The following day saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war as Lee's army attacked both flanks of Meade's line, but determined Union veterans threw Lee's equally determined back. That evening, Meade eagerly sought the advice of his most trusted officers during a "Council of War" at his headquarters. To a man, the officers encouraged him to stay and fight the battle out to a final conclusion. The last day of the battle may have been Meade's finest hour when an aggressive Union defense thwarted the last Confederate hopes for victory. Beginning on July 5, Meade ordered his exhausted army southward in pursuit of Lee's army, which was in retreat back to Virginia. Despite the possible entrapment of Lee near the Potomac River, no further significant fighting occurred and Lee's Confederates escaped back into Virginia. ]
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