Cumberland Township near Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Lee's Shattered Army
July 3, 1863 - Third Day
Lieut. John T. James, C.S.A.
11th Virginia Infantry, Pickett's Division
As the Confederates streamed back across the fields from their failed assault, Gen. Robert E. Lee rode out to meet them. "It has been all my fault" he was heard to say. The attack had cost his army nearly 6,000 casualties.
With the failure of "Pickett's Charge," Lee sensed his opportunity was gone. His men were exhausted, and the number of dead, wounded, and missing was enormous. They could no longer take the offensive. The following day, July 4, Lee's men held their position on the ridge behind you, but the Federals did not attack. That evening Lee gave the order to retreat.
The retreat began in a heavy rain that soaked the downcast Southern troops. The high spirits that had carried them into Pennsylvania were dashed on the bloody, sodden fields of Gettysburg.
Erected by Gettysburg National Miltary Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant day of the year for for this entry is July 4.
Location. Marker has been reported permanently removed. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America.
We have been informed that this sign or monument is no longer there and will not be replaced. This page is an archival view of what was.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. "I Thought My Men Were Invincible" (a few steps from this marker); The Storm of Battle (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Virginia Memorial (about 700 feet away); Ward's Battery - Poague's Battalion (about 800 feet away); Brooke's Battery - Poague's Battalion (about 800 feet away); Wright's Brigade (approx. 0.2 miles away); Army of Northern Virginia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Garnett's Brigade (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gettysburg.
More about this marker. In the upper center is a painting. General Robert E. Lee meets his retreating soldiers
Lt. Col. Arthur Freemantle witnessed the scene, "...I saw General Lee encourage and animate his somewhat dispirited troops, and magnanimously take upon his own shoulders the whole weight of the repulse. It was impossible to look at him or listen to him without feeling the strongest admiration..."
In the lower center is a drawing of Weary Confederates trudge through rain and mud on their retreat into Virginia. The trip was hardest for the wounded, some of whom covered as much as 15 agonizing miles a day.
On the right is a photograph of Lt. Thomas C. Holland who commanded Company G. 28th Virginia Infantry. Shouting "Come on, boys," Holland broke through the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. He fell moments later when a bullet pierced his cheek and exited the back of his head. He was carried to a Union field hospital, and later recovered.
Of the 88 men in his company who took part in Pickett's Charge, 81 were listed as killed, wounded, or missing that night. Fifty years after the battle, Holland returned to the spot where he fell and shook the hand of the Union soldier who had shot him.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2023. It was originally submitted on September 28, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,402 times since then and 145 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 28, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on August 28, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 3, 4. submitted on September 28, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.