the Valley of Virginia
, whose cyclonic stroke had pulverized Hooker
's right at Chancellorsville
, and who, on his many battlefields, had known no other song than the shout of victory, had ‘crossed over the river.’
The South, to her remotest borders, ‘gave signs of woe’ over his death, and Lee
had spoken of him as his ‘right arm,’ while a northern poet, in a poem of exquisite beauty, calls him ‘a light—a landmark in the clouds of war.’
These great armies met by an accidental collision around the village of Gettysburg
, the Federals
having possession of the commanding heights of Seminary Ridge
, Cemetery Hill
, Little and Big Round Top. Too many able pens have already wasted their wealth of expression in describing this great conflict for us, in the brief limits of this article, to attempt a description of this great battle.
It is our province to fairly portray the numbers and resources of the combatants.
According to abstracts of returns for General Meade
's army, June 30th, the day before the battle, he had, including the reinforcements which reached him during the battle, 101,679 effectives.
In an editorial note of the volume in which this abstract is found—viz: ‘Battles and Leaders
III-is the following in regard to General Lee
's strength: ‘It is reasonable to conclude that General Lee
had under his command on the field of battle, from first to last, an army of 70,000.’
's abstract of June 30th, for ‘present equipped,’ was 98,150.
This would give General Meade
28,150 in excess of General Lee
The student of history in the far-off future, when reading of how Pickett
's and Pettigrew
's men charged unflinchingly through this valley of the shadow of death, into the very entrenched works of Cemetery Hill
and then melted away as wreaths of vapor before a July sun, will meditate on what ‘might have been’ if Stonewall Jackson
had been there with 21,500 fresh soldiers, the number necessary to have equalized the strength of the opposing armies.
, in his report, says the battle closed after the repulse of Pickett
's charge on the afternoon of July 3d.
then fell back to his line of the morning.
The order to recross the Potomac
was given the night of July 4th, twenty-four hours after the fight was over, and Ewell
's corps did not leave Gettysburg
till late in the afternoon of the 5th, full forty-eight hours after the close of the battle on the 3d.
(See Report of General Lee
, ‘Official Records
XXVII, pages 313-325.) Lee
carried back into Virginia