Gettysburg was the Army of the Potomac's only great victory on the battlefield.
Antietam, certainly a strategic victory, showed Robert E. Lee's unstoppable killing
machine was indeed stoppable. And the Army of the Potomac did eventually
force Lee's Army of Northern Virginia from its impregnable Petersburg trenches.
But Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse finally came when the Rebel army
was so weakened that surrender was almost a foregone conclusion. Such Union
victories as the ones
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to regiments and companies, and to individuals who fought the fight of their lives,
goes the credit for saving the Union at Gettysburg. Decisive, and correct,
decisions were made and properly executed throughout the three days. When
events looked bleakest, it was Federal skill and daring that saved the day, and
the country. The Army of Northern Virginia did not lose the momentous Battle of
Gettysburg. The Army of the Potomac won it.