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[389] having the advantage of position. Doubtless, our loss was much the greater on the first day, a little more than the enemy's on the second, and far the less on the third. Probably, 18,000 killed and wounded, with 10,000 unwounded prisoners, would pretty fairly measure the Confederate losses during their Pennsylvania campaign.

During the 2d and 3d, the cavalry of either army, hovering around its flanks, ready to make a dash at the trains or camps of its adversary if opportunity should serve, had had several slight collisions, but no serious contest. On the 3d, an attempt of Hood, by a movement on the Emmitsburg road, to turn our left — which Gen. Meade regarded as our weak point — was defeated by Merritt's cavalry brigade, then coming up from Emmitsburg with intent to strike the rear and flank of the Rebel right, and by Farnsworth's brigade, which was guarding our own flank in that quarter. Gregg's division watched our right flank, confronted by Stuart. No important advantage was gained on either side; but a considerable infantry force under Hood seems to have been neutralized, during the grand assault, by the sturdy efforts of Merritt and Farnsworth, which were held to indicate that a strong infantry force was behind them, ready to strike heavily and attempt to turn the Rebel right.

The battle being over, Pleasanton, who was in chief command of the cavalry, urged Meade to order a general advance; being satisfied by appearances that not only was the Rebel army demoralized and beginning to retreat, but nearly out of ammunition. But, as it was not certain that the enemy was going, Meade chose to be assured on that point, by a cavalry reconnoissance to the Rebel rear. Pleasanton accordingly dispatched some cavalry on this errand, who rode all night; Gregg, who, moving by our right, had been out 22 miles on the Chambersburg road, returning first, at 8 A. M.,1 and reporting that road strewn with wounded and stragglers, ambulances and caissons, showing that not only was the enemy in full retreat, but that he was completely demoralized. Gregg had easily taken quite a number of prisoners. Other commanders of cavalry, returning later from similar reconnoissances on other roads, found them likewise covered, and captured many stragglers and wagons. Still, as Meade did not advance in force on their direct line of retreat,2 and as the movement of the artillery and trains of a great army requires

1 Saturday, July 4.

2 Gen. D. B. Birney, who succeeded Gen. Sickles in the command of the 3d corps, says:

I was ordered to send out a reconnoissance at daylight [on the 4th] to ascertain the position of the enemy. I did so early Sunday morning, and reported that the enemy were in full retreat. I also sent back for permission to open upon the enemy with my rifled batteries as they were crossing a point very near me, upon the turnpike going toward Hagerstown; and the staff officer brought me permission to do so. I had commenced the movement to attack, when another staff officer arrived from Gen. Meade with a written order from him to make no attack; which was done. My skirmishers advanced and took possession of their hospitals, with a large number of their wounded. I had sent some twenty orderlies with a staff officer, who led the reconnoissance; and I reported these facts constantly to Gen. Meade; but this peremptory order from him not to open fire at all prevented any pursuit of the enemy.

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George G. Meade (6)
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