The Union Center finally breaks and the men of Sickles' Corps flee the field. At a quick meeting with some of his Corps Commanders (Sykes and Sickles are nowhere to be found), General Meade makes the decision to have the Army of the Potomac retreat before it can be surrounded. Darkness and casualties prevent an effective pursuit, but as the Union army retreats toward Hanover, the Army of Northern Virginia, led by Stuart's unbloodied cavalry, takes the inside track toward Washington via Littlestown. The Confederate forces reach Westminster hours before the Army of the Potomac, and prepare a defensive position on Parr's Ridge south of Pipe's Creek.
On the morning of July 4, 1863, a frantic General Meade exhorts his generals to break through the rebel line and save the government. Wave upon wave of Yankees surge up the ridge only to be shot down. The Confederate troops chant 'Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg' as they continue to load and fire into the blue masses. But the apparently bottomless well of Northern bravery changes their jeering to admiration, and even in some cases to silent tears as the men in grey fire into the last approaching soldiers in blue.
2 weeks later, just after signing the armistice that would forever divide America into two nations, Abraham Lincoln noted that "those brave men at Westminster, gave the last full measure of devotion to their country."