Lee's defeated Army limped back across the Potomac, with Union General Meade failing to give chase. Gettysburg was Lee's greatest tactical failure, and its effect on his Army was devastating. He had led nearly 77M troops into Pennsylvania, but only 2/3 of them were able to march home. The rest were either dead, captured, or carried back, wounded. Entire regiment's had almost ceased to exist. Even worse, the battle had cost him some of his best officer's. Among the generals' killed, wounded or captured in battle were Barksdale,
Semmes, Barksdale, Hood, Anderson, Robertson, Garnett, Armistead, and Kemper of Longstreet's Corps alone. In Hill's Corps, Heth, Pender, Pettigrew, Archer, Trimble, Lane and Scales were among the casualties. Colonel's and lower ranking officer's had fared worse.

By the 26th of July, Lee had moved his army into Culpeper, Virginia. The following week, Hill moved his Corps 15 miles to the south around Orange Court House. With Pender mortally wounded and captured, Hill appointed Cadmus Marcellious Wilcox to take over his division. Hill's own Light Division looked much different than it had only a few years before.

Cadmus Wilcox

courtesy General Officers of the Civil War

Wilcox's Division Major General Cadmus M. Wilcox

McGowan's Brigade Brig. General Samuel McGowan
1st S.C.(PA) Lieut. Colonel W.P. Shooter
1st S.C. (Orr's) Rifles Lieut. Colonel G. McDonald Miller
12th S.C. Colonel John L. Miller
13th S.C. Colonel B.T. Brockman
14th S.C. Colonel Joseph N. Brown

Lane's Brigade Brig. General James H. Lane
7th N.C. Lieut. Colonel W. Lee Davidson
18th N.C. Colonel John D. Barry
28th N.C.
33rd N.C. Lieut. Colonel R.V. Cowan
37th N.C. Colonel W.M. Barbour

Thomas's Brigade Brig. General Edward L. Thomas
14th Ga.
35th Ga.
45th Ga.
49th Ga. Lieut. Colonel J.T. Jordan

Scales's Brigade Brig. General Alfred M. Scales
13th N.C. Colonel J.H. Hyman
16th N.C. Colonel W.A. Stowe
22nd N.C.
34th N.C. Colonel William Lee J.Lowrance
38th N.C. Colonel John Ashford

For a few months the ragged troops rested and recovered from their last battle. Many had been away from their homes for a few years now, and after facing the loss at Gettysburg, some began to question the futility of continuing the conflict. Desertion suddenly became a problem. On September 26th, the Georgia brigades witnessed Private Roe Dickson of the 14th GA Regiment being executed for desertion. He is thought to be the first Georgian to die by firing squad for desertion in the Civil War. As the war would drag on, he would not be the last. Throughout the winter, the Army of Northern Virginia would be swept by religious fervor. Revival's were plentiful, and religious conversion's came by the hundreds.

On October the 9th, Hill's men were again on the move marching north, and by the 13th arrived in Warrenton. Meade had his Army on the move, but changed his mind and had made a tactical mistake. Lee wanted to exploit it, and Hill's men were in pursuit, attempting to catch the Federal's before they could cross back over the river. It was here that Hill would have his worst day as a corps commander, sending three brigades into an murderous ambush of two Federal division's at Bristoe Station. Luckily for Thomas' men, they were not leading the Corp's that day and escaped injury. After the Federal's had retreated, Hill's forces began tearing up the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Bristoe to the Rappahannock Bridge. They camped there as temperatures began to fall, but on the 8th of November they moved back to the earthworks on the south banks of the Rapidan River. There Hill spread his forces out over a thirteen mile front covering Clark Mountain west to Liberty Mills. Meade was on the move again, and Lee had his forces on alert. The Southern cavalry discovered the Union Army and Lee moved his Army once again, to block their path. At Mine Run, the two armies met, with Lee's men dug in behind entrenchments. For a few days, both armies jockeyed for position with only minor skirmishing breaking out. Meade, pushed into this latest offensive move by President Lincoln, appeared unwilling to attack. Lee, on November 30th, decided to take the offensive, himself. Hill's men were ordered out of their fortification's and to move around Meade's flank during the night. In bone chilling cold, Thomas' Georgian's moved silently through the night. As the first touches of dawn began to paint the morning sky, Hill's men rushed into the Federal camp. It was empty. Meade had spent the night evacuating his army. It was the great battle that never was.

Convinced that Meade would make no further offensive turn, Hill's forces returned to their camps along the Rapidan River and build winter quarters. It would be a long winter for the 35th Georgian's. In December, the Georgian's, along with cavalry cover, were sent into the Shenandoah Valley to intercept a small Union force under Averill. Unable to catch the Federal's, the Georgian's decided to forage for food instead. They found enough supplies to feed Lee's entire army for months. Among the loot seized, was 25 barrels of applejack. Frank Edwards, in his book "The Red Book - The Life of Frank Edwards, 1911" wrote that the 35th celebrated Christmas Day 1863 by getting extremely intoxicated. On January 2, Gen Thomas wrote Gen Early "I shall move my command this morning to Middletown. Shall I remain there after the wagon's pass? A great many of my men are without shoes, so I hope we will have as little marching as possible." The Georgian's returned to their winter quarters.

The next few month's would see no military action along the River. Miles away, however, a decision was being made that would change the entire war. On March 12, Lincoln replaced the inactive Meade with his newest general. That day, Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia heard the name Ulysses S Grant for the first time. They had only a few months to wait before they would be formally introduced.

Ulysses Grant

courtesy General Officers of the Civil War

35th Georgia Index