Beverly Ford, Brandy Station, Berryville, and Aldie, some of which were quite severe, but, in the absence of detailed reports, I am unable to give the losses on either side. When General Meade, under orders of the President, took command of the army of the Potomac, on the twenty-eighth of June, it was mainly concentrated at Frederick, Maryland. Lee's army was supposed to be advancing against Harrisburgh, which was garrisoned by raw militia, upon which little or no reliance could be placed. Ewell's corps was on the west side of the Susquehanna, between that place and Columbia. Longstreet's corps was near Chambersburgh, and Hill's corps between that place and Cashtown. Stuart's cavalry was making a raid between Washington and Frederick, cutting Meade's line of supplies and capturing his trains. Our force at Harper's Ferry at this time was supposed to be about eleven thousand. It was incorrectly represented to General Meade to be destitute of provisions, and that he must immediately supply it, or order the abandonment of the place. Accordingly, a few hours after. he assumed the command, he assented to an order drawn up by an officer of General Hooker's staff, directing General French to send seven thousand men of the garrison to Frederick, and with the remainder (estimated at four thousand) to remove and escort the public property to Washington. This order, based on erroneous representations, was not known in Washington till too late to be countermanded. It, however, was not entirely executed when General Meade very judiciously directed the reoccupation of that important point. On the twenty-ninth, General Meade's army was put in motion, and at night was in position, its left at Emmittsburgh, and right at New-Windsor. The advance of Buford's cavalry was at Gettysburgh, and Kilpatrick's division at Hanover, where it encountered Stuart's cavalry, which had passed around the rear and right of our army without meeting any serious opposition. On the thirtieth, the First, Third, and Eleventh corps were concentrated at Emmittsburgh, under General Reynolds, while the right wing moved up to Manchester. Buford reported the enemy in force on the Cashtown road near Gettysburgh, and Reynolds moved up to that place on the first of July. He found our cavalry warmly engaged with the enemy, and holding them in check on the Cashtown road. Reynolds immediately deployed the advance division of the First corps, and ordered the Eleventh corps to advance promptly to its support. Wadsworth's division had driven back the enemy some distance, and captured a large number of prisoners, when General Reynolds fell mortally wounded. The arrival of Ewell's corps, about this time, by the York and Harrisburgh roads, compelled General Howard, upon whom the command devolved, to withdraw his force, the First and Eleventh corps, to the Cemetery ridge, on the south side of Gettysburgh. About seven P. M., Generals Sickles and Slocum arrived on the field with the Third and Twelfth corps, which took position, one on the left and the other on the right of the new line. The battle for the day, however, was over. General Meade arrived on the field during the night with the reserves, and posted his troops in line of battle, the First corps on the right, the Eleventh corps next, then the Twelfth corps, which crossed the Baltimore pike; the Second and Third corps on the Cemetery ridge. On the left of the Eleventh corps the Fifth corps, pending the arrival of the Sixth, formed the reserve. On the arrival of the latter, about two o'clock P. M., it took the place of the Fifth, which was ordered to take position on the extreme left. The enemy massed his troops on an exterior ridge, about a mile and a half in front of that occupied by us. General Sickles, misinterpreting his orders, instead of placing the Third corps on the prolongation of the Second, had moved it nearly three fourths of a mile in advance, an error which nearly proved fatal in the battle. The enemy attacked this corps on the second with great fury, and it was likely to be utterly annihilated, when the Fifth corps moved up on the left, and enabled it to re-form behind the line it was originally ordered to hold. The Sixth corps, and part of the First, were also opportunely thrown into this gap, and succeeded in checking the enemy's advance about sunset. The rebels retired in confusion and disorder. About eight P. M., an assault was made from the left of the town, which was gallantly repelled by the First, Second, and Eleventh corps. On the morning of the first, we regained, after a spirited contest, a part of our line on the right, which had been yielded to sustain other points. On the second, about one P. M., the enemy opened an artillery fire of one hundred and twenty-five guns on our centre and left. This was followed by an assault of a heavy column on our left and left centre. This was successfully repulsed with terrible loss to the enemy. This terminated the battle, and the rebels retired defeated from the field. The opposing forces in this sanguinary contest were nearly equal in numbers, and both fought with the most desperate courage. The commanders were also brave, skilful, and experienced, and both handled their troops on the field with distinguished ability; but to General Meade belongs the honor of a well-earned victory, in one of the greatest and best-fought battles of the war. On the morning of the fourth, the enemy apparently occupied a new line in front of our left, but in reality, his army had commenced to retreat, carrying off a part of his wounded. His lines, however, were not entirely evacuated till the morning of the fifth, when the cavalry and Sixth corps were sent in pursuit. The days of the fifth and sixth were employed by General Meade in succoring the wounded and burying the dead left on the battle-field. He then started in pursuit of Lee by a flank movement upon Middletown. In the mean time General French had reoccupied
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 3 .-attack on the defences of Mobile .
Surrender of Fort Powell .
Battle of Olustee .
Battle of Pleasant Hill .
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.