previous next
[401] leadership of that army in the little more than a year since Lee took command of the army of Northern Virginia.

On the 27th Lee issued, from Chambersburg, a general order to his troops which is worthy of more than a passing notice. One of its paragraphs reads: ‘It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered, without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove vain.’

The lack of knowledge as to the whereabouts and intentions of Meade, because of the absence of his cavalry, delayed Lee at Chambersburg; but on the night of the 28th, Harrison, a daring Virginia scout in the service of Longstreet, reached him with the information, the first he had received, that the army of the Potomac had crossed that river on the 25th and was then threatening his line of communication at Hagerstown, as above stated. This news led Lee to at once recall Ewell's divisions from the Susquehanna, near Harrisburg and Columbia, and order a concentration of his army at Cashtown, in the Piedmont country of Pennsylvania, just east of the South mountain, on the road from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, where the topographic conditions were all favorable for a defensive battle, and where he could draw supplies from the fertile Cumberland valley in his rear. Moreover, a movement in that direction was one threatening, not only Washington and Baltimore, but also Philadelphia, as was fully realized by the Federal government when it at once ordered the throwing up of defenses in front of the ‘city of brotherly love.’ Lee well knew that such a strategic movement would draw the army of the Potomac from menacing his rear that it might interpose itself between the army of Northern Virginia and the important cities and lines of communication that its movements threatened.

The Third corps, A. P. Hill's, marched, on the morning of the 29th, from Chambersburg toward Cashtown, Lee remaining in the former with the First corps, watching the development of his plans. Late in the same day Ewell received, at Carlisle, Lee's order of concentration,

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. E. Lee (7)
Richard S. Ewell (2)
George Meade (1)
James Longstreet (1)
A. P. Hill (1)
Thomas Harrison (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.
29th (1)
28th (1)
27th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: