previous next

[106] the Rappahannock, and the next day disappeared behind the hills of Stafford.

The whole army of General Hooker withdrew from the line of the Rappahannock, pursuing the roads near the Potomac, and no favorable opportunity was offered for attack. It seemed to be the purpose of General Hooker to take a position which would enable him to cover the approaches to Washington City. With a view to draw him further from his base, and at the same time to cover the march of A. P. Hill, who, in accordance with instructions, left Fredericksburgh for the valley as soon as the enemy withdrew from his front, Longstreet moved from Culpeper Court-House on the fifteenth, and advancing along the east side of the Blue Ridge, occupied Ashby's and Snicker's Gaps. His force had been augmented while at Culpeper by General Pickett, with three brigades of his division.

The cavalry, under General Stuart, was thrown out in front of Longstreet to watch the enemy, now reported to be moving into Loudon. On the seventeenth his cavalry encountered two brigades of ours, under General Stuart, near Aldie, and was driven back with loss. The next day the engagement was renewed, the Federal cavalry being strongly supported by infantry, and General Stuart was in turn compelled to retire.

The enemy advanced as far as Upperville, and then fell back. In these engagements General Stuart took about four hundred prisoners and a considerable number of horses and arms.

In the mean time, a part of General Ewell's corps had entered Maryland, and the rest was about to follow. General Jenkins with his cavalry, who accompanied General Ewell, penetrated Pennsylvania as far as Chambersburgh. As these demonstrations did not have the effect of causing the Federal army to leave Virginia, and as it did not seem disposed to advance upon the position held by Longstreet, the latter was withdrawn to the west side of the Shenandoah, General Hill having already reached the valley.

General Stuart was left to guard the passes of the mountains, and observe the movements of the enemy, whom he was instructed to harass and impede as much as possible should he attempt to cross the Potomac. In that event, General Stuart was directed to move into Maryland, crossing the Potomac east or west of the Blue Ridge, as in his judgment should be best, and take position on the right of our column as it advanced.

By the twenty-fourth, the progress of Ewell rendered it necessary that the rest of the army should be in supporting distance, and Longstreet and Hill marched to the Potomac. The former crossed at Williamsport, and the latter at Shepherdstown. The columns reunited at Hagerstown, and advanced thence into Pennsylvania, encamping near Chambersburgh on the twenty-seventh.

No report had been received that the Federal army had crossed the Potomac, and the absence of the cavalry rendered it impossible to obtain accurate information. In order, however, to retain it on the east side of the mountains after it should enter Maryland, and thus leave open our communication with the Potomac through Hagerstown and Williamsport, General Ewell had been instructed to send a division eastward from Chambersburgh, to cross the South-Mountains. Early's division was detached for this purpose, and proceeded as far east as York, while the remainder of the corps proceeded to Carlisle.

General Imboden, in pursuance of the instructions previously referred to, had been actively engaged on the left of General Ewell during the progress of the latter into Maryland. He had driven off the forces guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, destroying all the important bridges on that route from Cumberland to Martinsburgh, and seriously damaged the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. He subsequently took position at Hancock, and after the arrival of Longstreet and Hill at Chambersburgh, was directed to march by way of McConnellsburgh to that place.

Preparations were now made to advance upon Harrisburgh; but on the night of the twenty-ninth information was received from a scout that the Federal army, having crossed the Potomac, was advancing northward, and that the head of the column had reached the South-Mountain. As our communications with the Potomac were thus menaced, it was resolved to prevent his further progress in that direction by concentrating our army on the east side of the mountains. Accordingly Longstreet and Hill were directed to proceed from Chambersburgh to Gettysburgh, to which point General Ewell was also instructed to march from Carlisle.

General Stuart continued to follow the movements of the Federal army south of the Potomac after our own had entered Maryland, and in his efforts to impede its progress advanced as far eastward as Fairfax Court-House. Finding himself unable to delay the enemy materially, he crossed the river at Seneca, and marched through Westminster to Carlisle, where he arrived after General Ewell had left for Gettysburgh. By the route he pursued the Federal army was interposed between his command and our main body, preventing any communication with him until his arrival at Carlisle.

The march toward Gettysburgh was conducted more slowly than it would have been had the movements of the Federal army been known.

The leading division of Hill met the enemy in advance of Gettysburgh, on the morning of the first of July. Driving back these troops to within a short distance of the town, he there encountered a large force, with which two of his divisions became engaged. Ewell, coming up with two of his divisions by the way of the Heidlersburgh road, joined in the engagement. The enemy was driven through Gettysburgh with heavy loss, including about five thousand prisoners and several pieces of artillery.

He retired to a high range of hills south and east of the town. The attack was not pressed that afternoon, the enemy's force being unknown,

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)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
R. S. Ewell (8)
J. E. B. Stuart (7)
Longstreet (6)
A. P. Hill (6)
Joseph Hooker (2)
Sunday York (1)
Edward Pickett (1)
B. W. Jenkins (1)
J. D. Imboden (1)
J. A. Early (1)
Carlisle (1)
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.
July 1st (1)
27th (1)
17th (1)
15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: