previous next

[102] cypress — they are my only trophy from that glorious field.

Good-by to Gettysburgh — a mad gallop to Westminster, (which brought our day's ride up to nearly fifty miles,) to catch a train that after all, loaded with wounded soldiers as it was, spent the whole night backing and hauling on side tracks and switches; and so at last to Baltimore; and out of the field once more. May it be forever.

Agate. Gazette office, July 8.

Major-General Meade's report.

headquarters army of the Potomac, October 1, 1863.
General: I have the honor to submit herewith a report of the operations of this army during the month of July, including details of the battle of Gettysburgh, which have been delayed by failure to receive the reports of the several corps and division commanders, who were severely wounded in battle.

On the twenty-eighth of June I received orders from the President, placing me in command of the army of the Potomac.

The situation of affairs was briefly as follows: The confederate army, which was commanded by Gen. R. E. Lee, was estimated at over one hundred thousand strong. All that army had crossed the Potomac River and advanced up the Cumberland Valley. Reliable intelligence placed his advance thus: Ewell's corps on the Susquehanna, Harrisburgh, and Columbia; Longstreet's corps at Chambersburgh; and Hill's corps between that place and Cashtown.

The twenty-eighth of June was spent in ascertaining the positions and strength of the different corps of the army, but principally in bringing up the cavalry which had been covering the rear of the army in its passage over the Potomac, and to which a large increase had just been made from the force previously attached to the defences of Washington.

Orders were given on this day to Major-General French, commanding at Harper's Ferry, to move with seven thousand men to occupy Frederick and the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with the balance of his force, estimated at four thousand, to remove and escort public property to Washington.

On the twenty-ninth the army was put in motion, and on the evening of that day it was in position, the left at Emmetsburgh and the right at New-Windsor. Buford's division of cavalry was on the left flank, with his advance at Gettysburgh. Kilpatrick's division was in the front at Hanover, where he encountered this day General Stuart's confederate cavalry, which had crossed the Potomac at Seneca Creek, and passing our right flank, was making its way toward Carlisle, having escaped Gregg's division, which was delayed in taking position on the right flank by the occupation of the roads by a column of infantry.

On the thirtieth the right flank of the army was moved up to Manchester, the left still being at Emmettsburgh, or in that vicinity, at which place three corps, First, Eleventh, and Third, were collected under the orders of Major-General Reynolds.

Gen. Buford having reported from Gettysburgh the appearance of the enemy on the Cashtown road in some force, Gen. Reynolds was directed to occupy Gettysburgh.

On reaching that place, on the first day of July, General Reynolds found Buford's cavalry warmly engaged with the enemy, who had debouched his infantry through the mountains on Cashtown, but was being held in check in the most gallant manner by Buford's cavalry. Major-General Reynolds immediately moved around the town of Gettysburgh, and advanced on the Cashtown road, and without a moment's hesitation deployed his advanced division and attacked the enemy, at the same time sending orders for the Eleventh corps, General Howard, to advance as promptly as possible.

Soon after making his dispositions for attack, Major-Gen. Reynolds fell mortally wounded, the command of the First corps devolving on Major-General Doubleday, and the command of the field on Major-Gen. Howard, who arrived about this time (half-past 11 A. M.) with the Eleventh corps, then commanded by Major-Gen. Schurz. Major-Gen. Howard pushed forward two divisions of the Eleventh corps to support the First corps, now warmly engaged with the enemy on a ridge to the north of the town, and posted his third division, with three batteries of artillery, on the Cemetery ridge, on the south side of the town.

Up to this time the battle had been with the forces of the enemy debouching from the mountains on the Cashtown road, known to be Hill's corps. In the early part of the action the success was on the enemy's side. Wadsworth's division of the First corps having driven the enemy back some distance, captured numerous prisoners, among them Gen. Archer, of the confederate army.

The arrival of reenforcements to the enemy on the Cashtown road, and the junction of Ewell's corps coming in on the York and Harrisburgh roads, which occurred between one and two o'clock P. M., enabled the enemy to bring vastly superior forces against both the First and Eleventh corps, outflanking our line of battle, and pressing it so severely that, about four o'clock P. M., Major-General Howard deemed it prudent to withdraw these two corps to the Cemetery ridge, on the south side of the town, which operation was successfully accomplished — not, however, without considerable loss in prisoners, arising from the confusion incident to portions of both corps passing through the town, and the men getting confused in the streets.

About the time of the withdrawal, Major-Gen. Hancock arrived, whom I had despatched to represent me on the field, on hearing of the death of General Reynolds. In conjunction with Major-Gen. Howard, Gen. Hancock proceeded to post the troops on Cemetery ridge, and to repel an attack that the enemy made on our right flank. This attack was not, however, very vigorous; the enemy, seeing the strength of the position 102

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 28th (2)
October 1st, 1863 AD (1)
July 8th (1)
July 1st (1)
July (1)
30th (1)
29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: