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[63]

Was not informed.

But, on the 28th, General Hooker was displaced and General Meade placed in command of the army. He immediately drew back the corps from Middleton to Frederickstown, so that they might be prepared to join in the general advance of the whole army towards the Susquehannah on the east side of the mountain range, which advance was to be put in motion early on the morning of the 29th. Of this change of arrangement, General Lee had no intimation until the two armies came into collision near Gettysburg. Had he known that General Meade had withdrawn the corps from Middleton on the 28th, as he should have known if his cavalry had been watching those gaps, and was advancing as rapidly as possible east of the mountains as it advanced, are that he would not have ordered the concentration of his army east of the mountain, for he so distinctly states: ‘To deter him from advancing further west and intercepting our communications with Virginia, it was determined to concentrate the army east of the mountains.’

If the Army of the Potomac had crossed over the South Mountain at the passes in Maryland, as General Lee supposed it was doing, and approached him from that direction, occupying his line of communication and taking possession of the gaps in the mountain as it advanced, a prompt concentration of his whole army east of the mountains, alone could prevent Meade from soon occupying the gaps between him and Gettysburg, and thus forcing him to turn back and make the attack with all the strong strategic and tactical positions occupied by his adversary. Thus, it was not what Meade did, but what General Lee thought he was doing that caused him to fall back from before Harrisburg. Just enough information to mislead, brought on the battle of Gettysburg. When the army crossed the Potomac, it was expected of the cavalry to furnish reliable informamation of the movements of the Army of the Potomac. I can find nothing in the records that throws any light upon what it was that detained the two brigades under Robertson in Virginia until July 1st, when they crossed the river at Williamsport. The Army of the Potomac had been withdrawn from Loudoun—the last of the cavalry crossing the river on the 27th, and the positions taken up that night. General Jones, commanding one of the brigades, takes up his report on the 29th, with his command at Snickersville, Loudoun county. There were no reports from the other brigade, and it appears there [64] were no reports from either of them to General Lee at the time of the movements of the enemy.

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