it can only clearly be understood when it is assumed the necessities of the South
were so great as to compel the government at Richmond
to direct the movement in order, if possible, to hasten their recognition by France
In the first place, Lee
's army was not in a condition to make that campaign a success.
A month before, at Chancellorsville
, he had lost his ablest lieutenant, Stonewall Jackson
, and the flower of his army.
His army never recovered from that blow.
It caused General Longstreet
to say, “Such was the terrible sacrifice, that half a dozen such victories would have ruined us.”
The battle of Chancellorsville
was properly the beginning of the Gettysburg campaign
, and should be so considered in reviewing the military operations of the two armies.
The Army of the Potomac never was in finer order than in June, when it moved from Fredericksburg
, and it was ably handled throughout the campaign, and until after the battle of Gettysburg
The army had three roads to concentrate on Gettysburg
, viz.: the Emmettsburg road, the Taneytown
road, and the Baltimore pike
, and could naturally arrive there before Lee
's army, coming from Chambersburg
, on a single road through Cashtown
On the night of the 1st of July, we had more troops in position than Lee
, and from that time victory was assured to us. Had Lee
attacked on the morning of the 2d, he would have been repulsed, as he was when he did attack.
The failure of Lee
to make any impression on our right, which General Meade
expected on both days, the 2d and 3d of July, showed that General Lee
was either too weak, or did not have his army well in hand.
As to General Lee
maneuvring to our left, the supposition shows the ignorance existing of our position and the nature of the country.
I had two divisions of cavalry, one in rear of our position, and one on Lee
's right flank.
This cavalry would have held Lee
in check in any such movement, while the Army of the Potomac from Cemetery Hill
would have swept down and turned Gettysburg
into an Austrelitz.
It would have been far better for General Lee
and his army if they could have realized that the Army of the Potomac possessed generals fully equal to their own; that the mobility of the army for marching and maneuvring was equal, if not superior, to theirs, and that, in point of equipment, endurance, and tenacity, they were their superiors.
It is one of the wisest maxims of war, “Never to hold air enemy in contempt.”
The South suffered for the violation of this rule the most bitter mortification and suffering, and none more so than the gallant men who strove to wring victory from despair at Gettysburg
Three serious blunders deprived the Army of the Potomac of