The Battle of Gettysburg occurred in July 1863, and Confederate misfortunes were overwhelming. Many people in Atlanta are anxious to see the casualty records, and Rhett speeds up the reading of the list, obviously out of consideration for Melanie. Ashley is not recorded, implying that he is alive. Yet, numerous others who Scarlett knew have died, including the four young men from the Tarleton family. Melanie and Scarlett pay a visit to a family whose eldest son was executed in the battle, and Melanie admits she wishes, with her entire being, to have a child.
Ashley returns home on leave-of-absence. But Scarlett gets just a brief period alone with him, until the point before he clears out to go back to war. He talks honestly with her, and reveals that the Confederacy will lose the war. At that point, he approaches her to be close with her, and take care of her in the event anything occurs to him. Scarlett requests that Ashley kiss her as he departs, and she endeavors to turn a simple and soft, kindly kiss into a passionate affair. He begins to react, however, and pushes her away. Scarlett spills out her adoration for him; he does not react, despite the fact that Scarlett trusts what she sees, as passion and sadness, registered on his face.
A couple of months later, Melanie reveals to Scarlett that she is pregnant, which leaves her crushed; she is not enthusiastic about the idea at all. The following day, they learn that Ashley is missing from the battle. Melanie frequents the broadcast office, waiting for any news, until the point that she passes out as a result of the strain, at which point Rhett brings her home. He utilizes his Union armed forces contacts to discover that Ashley has been detained at a dangerous camp in Illinois. The Yankees will discharge him in the event that he pledges faithfulness to the Union, yet he refuses to do so. While Scarlett cannot comprehend as to why, Melanie protects her partner’s choice of action. When she and Rhett are far away from everyone else, Scarlett inquires as to whether he would take the required oath to get out; Rhett responds that he would obviously take the oath, and believes Ashley is, excessively, a “man of his word” to accomplish something to that effect.