|Robert Edward Lee was acknowledged as the most outstanding
officer in the U. S. Army at the start of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln offered him the command
of the Federal forces, an honor that, due to Virginia's secession,
Lee declined. The Gettysburg Campaign was Lee's second major
incursion into the northern states; the first, in 1862, led to
the stalemate at Sharpsburg.
Lee ignored his own experiences at Malvern Hill and at Fredricksburg,
and ordered the assault on Cemetery Ridge on 3 July. After the battle,
Lee took full blame for the failed assault, and submitted his
resignation to President Jefferson Davis who, of course, declined to accept it.
Shelby Foote has described Pickett's Charge as "the price the South paid for having Lee as commander".
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