the objections to the invasion of Pennsylvania
, that the Federals
would do superior fighting upon their own soil.
The Confederates, whom I have read after, deny that this is true.
Although not technically correct, the Comte
is right in the material point.
The actual fighting on the field of Gettysburg
, by the Army of the Potomac, was not marked by any unusual gallantry, but the positions that it occupied were held with much more than the usual tenacity of purpose.
There is little to say of the retreat of General Lee
's army to the Potomac
When we reached South Mountain
, on our retreat, we learned that the Federal
cavalry was in strong force, threatening the destruction of our trains then collecting at Williamsport
, and that it was also intercepting our trains on the road, and burning some of our wagons.
Upon the receipt of this intelligence General Lee
ordered me to march as rapidly as possible to the relief of our trains.
By a forced march we succeeded in clearing the road, and reached Williamsport
in time to save our supply trains.
We then took position covering the crossing there and at Falling Water, a short distance below.
As the other corps arrived they were assigned positions, and we went to work as rapidly as possible to strengthen our line with field works.
On the 13th, General Lee
informed me that the river had fallen sufficiently at Williamsport
to allow us to ford, and that the bridge at Falling Water had been repaired, and that he would, that night, recross the river with his entire army.
I suggested, as a matter of convenience, and to avoid confusion, that it might be better to pass the trains over that night, with everything not essential to battle, and let his troops remain in position until the night of the 14th; that, if the rest of his line was as strong as mine, we could easily repulse any attack that might be made, and thus recover some of the prestige lost by the discomfiture at Gettysburg
After we crossed the Potomac
we soon found that the Federals
were pushing along the west side of the Blue Ridge
, with the purpose of cutting off our retreat to Richmond
again sent my corps forward to prevent this effort on the part of General Meade
, and we succeeded in clearing the way and holding it open for the Third Corps, that followed us. General Ewell
, however, was cut off, and was obliged to pass the mountains further south.
The First Corps reached Culpepper Court-House on the 24th.
In the month of August, 1863, while lying along the Rapidan
, I called General Lee
's attention to the condition of our affairs in the West
, and the progress that was being made by the army under General Rosecrans
in cutting a new line through the State