At two in the afternoon under sweltering heat and a burning sun, Pickett's division exited their cover and began their slow and inclined trek to the ridge. Union big guns held fire until the linear formation in multiple ranks (some twelve-thousand men) got about half way across the big field before opening fire. The Confederates began to run but had difficulty crossing the wall on the way, opening themselves up to massive slowdowns and easy targeting. By the time they neared the enemy lines, large numbers of soldiers were dead or crying out in pain on the ground and only Virginia Colonel Lewis Armistead's brigade made it over the final wall where Armistead himself was fatally wounded yelling for his men to pour on the steel.
At this point, it was a rout and the remaining Confederates were either captured or began heading back to their camps, dejected now that they knew the battle was lost. When Lee told him men to repair for a counter-attack, he was informed that the Army was basically no longer fit for combat due to the massive bloodshed. Over forty-six thousand soldiers were killed, wounded or captured that day, nearly equally divided between men from the North or South. Lee and his remaining forces would depart under the cover of darkness and return to Virginia, never to come back across the Mason-Dixon line again. The turning point of the war was now there and despite two more brutal years and great losses to both sides, the United States of America would be united again. The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave would live on.