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While preparing for his campaign in Pennsylvania General Lee carefully considered every contingency that could mar success, except the possibility of tactical blunders of those who had always maintained his confidence by a prompt and intelligent execution of instructions. When, however, he had crossed the Potomac, the absence of his cavalry, caused by the fatal blunder of Stuart, which separated it from the army at the most critical time, obliged him to grope his way in the dark, and precipitated him, by the want of timely notice, into a premature engagement with the enemy. While waiting for information at Chambersburg, the first intelligence received of the movements of the enemy was his arrival at Emmettsburg. As had been previously concerted, General Lee ordered a rapid concentration of his forces at Gettysburg. Early in the forenoon of the first of July two Federal corps arrived at that place, and almost simultaneously the head of the Confederate columns arrived, and an engagement immediately ensued, which continued with great spirit until about four o'clock in the afternoon, when the Federal corps were signally defeated, and almost annihilated. General Lee arrived on the field near the close of the action. Perceiving the utter prostration of two Federal corps, and being aware that General Meade could not bring up all his forces before the afternoon of the next day, he determined to cast the fate of the campaign on the chance of an immediate battle.

By the close of the day all of Hill's and Ewell's corps had come up, and Longstreet's was only a few miles in rear.

Having formed his plan of attack, Hill and Ewell were put at once in position, while Longstreet bivouacked about four miles from the field of battle. The order was that Longstreet, on the right, should begin the attack as early as practicable on the second, and Ewell and Hill were to afford him vigorous co-operation. On the morning of the second Meade's position on Cemetery Ridge was not fully occupied, and, as had been expected, a large portion of his forces was still on the march.

If a vigorous attack had then been made, by all the chances of war, victory would have crowned the Confederate arms. But another blunder intervened, and the attack was delayed until four o'clock in the afternoon, when, after desperate fighting, a position was gained, which a few hours before could have been occupied

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