By Monday, July 20, 1863 maneuvering continued between George Meade’s Federal army and Robert E. Lee’s forces. Meade’s army moved southward after crossing the Potomac into Virginia, attempting to block the passes in the Blue Ridge Mountains thus leaving Lee’s army in a vulnerable position and placing Meade closer to Richmond than Lee.
From the 21st through the 23rd of July, skirmishing occurred at Manassas Gap, Chester Gap, Gaines’ Cross Roads, and other mountain passes. However, successful delaying tactics slowed the Union advances and allowed the Confederates to move swiftly through the Luray Valley of the Shenandoah to a secure position near Culpeper Court House, below the Rappahannock River.
Lee had returned to the security of Virginia to the topography which he best understood to continue the Southern war effort.