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[157] his army. This cannot and will not be contradicted, I am satisfied. General Lee, had he seen fit, could have assumed a defensive position, and popular opinion in the Northern States would have forced the commander of the Federal army to attack.

And further, to corroborate the fact that General Lee was not compelled to attack Meade “where Meade chose to wait for him,” 1 will show, I am confident, that the “Battle of Gettysburg” was the result purely of an accident, for which I am probably, more than any one else, accountable. Napoleon is said to have remarked that “a dog fight might determine the result of a great battle.” Almost as trivial a circumstance determined the Battle of Gettysburg being fought at Gettysburg. It is well known that General Meade had chosen another point as his battle-field. On the 29th of June, 1863, General Lee's army was disposed as follows: Longstreet's corps, at or near Chambersburg; Ewell's corps, which had been pushed east as far as York, had received orders to countermarch and concentrate on Hill's corps, which lay on and at the base of South Mountain; the leading division (Heth's) occupying Cashtown, at the base of the mountain; the cavalry not heard from, probably at or near Carlisle. Hearing that a supply of shoes was to be obtained in Gettysburg, eight miles distant from Cashtown, and greatly needing shoes men, I directed General Pettigrew to go to Gettysburg and get these supplies.

On the 30th of June General Pettigrew, with his brigade, went near Gettysburg, but did not enter the town, returning the same evening to Cashtown, reporting that he had not carried out my orders, as Gettysburg was occupied by the enemy's cavalry, and that some of his officers reported hearing drums beating on the farther side of the town; that under these circumstances he did not deem it advisable to enter Gettysburg. About this time Gen. Hill rode up, and this information was given him. He remarked, “the only force at Gettysburg is cavalry, probably a detachment of observation. 1 am just from General Lee, and the information he has from his scouts corroborates that I have received from mine — that is, the enemy are still at Middleburg, and have not yet struck their tents.” I then said, if there is no objection, I will take my division to-morrow and go to Gettysburg and get those shoes! Hill replied, “None in the world.”

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