The Battle of Gettysburg is considered the turning point in the war, and the point at which the outcome was inevitable. General Robert E. Lee had previously invaded the North in hopes of securing recognition from England and France for the Confederacy; but was defeated at the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg.) He invaded the North again after a successful campaign at Shenandoah in hopes of bringing pressure on Northern politicians to end the war on favorable terms. During the final days of the battle, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens approached the lines under a flag of truce, presumably to discuss prisoner exchanges; although there is some speculation he may have also hoped to discuss peace. However, after word of the Union victory, President Abraham Lincoln refused to allow Stephens to cross Union lines. The battle destroyed any hope of aa Confederate victory, let alone recognition from Europe. Henry Adams, son of John Quincy Adams, commented after the battle:
The disasters of the rebels are unredeemed by even any hope of success. It is now conceded that all idea of intervention is at an end.