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ral Meade, without waiting to hear from Hancock, issued orders to the Fifth and Twelfth Corps to proceed to the scene of action. At 6.30 P. M. he received the first report from General Hancock, in which that officer said: We can fight here, as the ground appears not unfavorable, with good troops. General Meade at once issued orders to all his corps commanders to move to Gettysburg, broke up his headquarters at Taneytown, and proceeded himself to the field, arriving there at one A. M. of the 2d. He was occupied during the night in directing the movements of the troops, and as soon as it was daylight, he proceeded to inspect the position occupied, and to make arrangements for posting the several corps as they should arrive. By seven A. M. the Second and Fifth Corps, with the rest of the Third, had reached the ground, and soon after the whole army was in position, with the exception of the Sixth Corps, which arrived at two P. M. after a long and fatiguing march. General Sedgwick say
sed most heavily, had made them feel that they were under the lead of a general who had the ability to handle the army effectively. Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville had shown how little the valor of the troops could accomplish when incompetently led; at Gettysburg, under a skilful and able leader, their bravery and heroic endurance were rewarded with victory. A Latin proverb says: Formidabilior cervorum exercitus duce leone, quam leonum, cervo. The battle was renewed at daylight on the 3d, on our right. During the night, General Meade had returned the portion of the Twelfth Corps, that had been sent over to the left, to its former position, and a terrible struggle took place for the possession of the ground which had been occupied by General Ewell the night before. General Lee had hoped, by holding this ground, to turn our position, but General Geary, with his division, assisted by troops from the Sixth Corps, attacked the enemy, and, after a severe engagement, which lasted f
ted disastrously. I had, said that officer to the writer, Hood and McLaws, who had not been engaged; I had a heavy force of artillery; I should have liked nothing better than to have been attacked, and have no doubt that I should have given those who tried as bad a reception as Pickett received. On July 4th, Lee, during a heavy storm, withdrew from our front, and on the 11th took up a position at Williamsport, on the Potomac. He was closely followed by Meade, who came up with him on the 12th, and who found him in a position naturally almost impregnable, and strongly fortified. Meade's impulse was to attack at once, but, after consultation with his corps commanders, he abstained from ordering an assault until he could more fully reconnoitre the enemy's position. On the morning of the 14th, a reconnoissance in force, supported by the whole army, was made at daylight; but, on the night of the 13th, Lee had recrossed the Potomac. There was a great deal of clamor at the time, becau
port, on the Potomac. He was closely followed by Meade, who came up with him on the 12th, and who found him in a position naturally almost impregnable, and strongly fortified. Meade's impulse was to attack at once, but, after consultation with his corps commanders, he abstained from ordering an assault until he could more fully reconnoitre the enemy's position. On the morning of the 14th, a reconnoissance in force, supported by the whole army, was made at daylight; but, on the night of the 13th, Lee had recrossed the Potomac. There was a great deal of clamor at the time, because Meade did not destroy or capture Lee's army at Williamsport; but Meade, conscious that he had acted wisely, always felt that history would do him justice. Had he assaulted, he would certainly have been defeated, and the result would have been disastrous not only to the army, but to the country, for a defeat to our army there would have opened the road to Washington and the North, and all the fruits of Gett
July 4th, Lee, during a heavy storm, withdrew from our front, and on the 11th took up a position at Williamsport, on the Potomac. He was closely followed by Meade, who came up with him on the 12th, and who found him in a position naturally almost impregnable, and strongly fortified. Meade's impulse was to attack at once, but, after consultation with his corps commanders, he abstained from ordering an assault until he could more fully reconnoitre the enemy's position. On the morning of the 14th, a reconnoissance in force, supported by the whole army, was made at daylight; but, on the night of the 13th, Lee had recrossed the Potomac. There was a great deal of clamor at the time, because Meade did not destroy or capture Lee's army at Williamsport; but Meade, conscious that he had acted wisely, always felt that history would do him justice. Had he assaulted, he would certainly have been defeated, and the result would have been disastrous not only to the army, but to the country, for
in battle at some point. It was my firm determination, never for an instant deviated from, to give battle wherever and as soon as I could possibly find the enemy. On the night of June 29th, Lee learned that the Army of the Potomac, which he thought was still in Virginia, was advancing northward, threatening his communications. He therefore suspended the movement on Harrisburg, which he had ordered, and directed Longstreet, Hill, and Ewell to concentrate at Gettysburg. On the night of the 30th, after the Army of the Potomac had made two days marches, General Meade heard that Lee was concentrating his army to meet him, and being entirely ignorant of the nature of the country in front of him, he at once instructed his engineers to select some ground having a general reference to the existing position of the army, which he might occupy by rapid movement of concentration, and thus give battle on his own terms, in case the enemy should advance across the South Mountain. The general li
epeatedly and earnestly for reinforcements, but in vain, and after a loss of nearly forty per cent. of his command, he was compelled to fall back, which he did without confusion. The history of the war does not contain the record of a more gallant assault, and by his brilliant conduct on this occasion, General Meade added to his already high reputation in the army. Soon after, in the latter part of December, 1862, he was promoted to the command of the Fifth Army Corps. In the following May was fought the battle of Chancellorsville, the result of which caused the most universal gloom and depression. We cannot here enter, at any length, into the history of that battle. It will be sufficient to call to mind how the Army of the Potomac, reorganized and reinforced, in the best of spirits, and confident of victory, led by General Hooker, who enjoyed its confidence to a very high degree, went forth to meet its old antagonist, the Army of Northern Virginia. It was again doomed to di
the rest of the army — the First, Second, Fifth, and Twelfth Corps, only parts of some of these corps being engaged. Lee then turned upon Sedgwick, who was advancing from Fredericksburg, and drove him across the Rappahannock. This was on the 5th of May, and the same night the whole army recrossed the river, the Fifth Corps, under General Meade, covering the retreat. In this battle Lee had sixty thousand men, Longstreet's Corps having been sent to operate south of the James river; Hooker had nd men. And yet, with this great preponderance of strength, we assaulted the enemy again and again, in positions not so strong as the one held at Williamsport, always without success and with terrible loss. From the crossing of the Rapidan, on May 5th, to the unsuccessful assault on the enemy's works at Petersburg, June 18th, a period of about six weeks, the Army of the Potomac lost not less than seventy thousand men. In the battles between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Vir
the campaign with one hundred and fifteen thousand men, and after Spottsylvania Court-House were constantly receiving heavy reinforcements. General Lee had about sixty thousand men. And yet, with this great preponderance of strength, we assaulted the enemy again and again, in positions not so strong as the one held at Williamsport, always without success and with terrible loss. From the crossing of the Rapidan, on May 5th, to the unsuccessful assault on the enemy's works at Petersburg, June 18th, a period of about six weeks, the Army of the Potomac lost not less than seventy thousand men. In the battles between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia, in no case was a direct assault upon an intrenched position successful. There is evidence that the enemy were anxious to be attacked at Williamsport. In the History of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, by Mr. J. R. Sypher, a letter is quoted from the Rev. Dr. Falk, who was in the enemy's lines at that place. Dr.
by important considerations, doubtless under the conviction, too; that the Army of the Potomac would be handled in Pennsylvania as at Chancellorsville, he determined upon an offensive campaign, the object of which was the capture of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. The end he hoped to attain was the long coveted recognition by foreign powers of the Southern Confederacy, its consequent successful establishment, and the complete humiliation of the Union cause. Accordingly, on the 22d of June, after a series of bold movements in Virginia, he ordered the advance of his army, under Ewell, into Maryland; and on the 24th and 25th, his two remaining corps, under Longstreet and Hill, crossed the Potomac at Williamsport and Shepherdstown, and followed Ewell, who had already advanced into Pennsylvania as far as Chambersburg. The Army of the Potomac crossed on the 25th and 26th, at Edwards' Ferry, and was concentrated in the neighborhood of Frederick, Maryland. It was under these
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