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The battle begins on July 1 as both sides race to the crossroads town of Gettysburg. The Rebels gain the advantage and the Union forces retreat in panic. It appears Lee will gain the decisive victory he desires on Northern soil. Most of Gettysburg's civilians hide in their cellars but Jennie Wade offers water and bread to Unions. African-Americans flee the oncoming Confederate army. Union General Hancock arrives and rallies Union men on Cemetery Hill. Then, despite protests from his best general, James Longstreet, Lee makes plans to attack the Union position.