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
; 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 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
, 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
, 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.’
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
remaining in the former with the First corps, watching the development of his plans.
Late in the same day Ewell
received, at Carlisle
's order of concentration,