to Mr. Lincoln
June 29th (409): ‘Let me impress upon you the absolute necessity of action by Meade
to-morrow, even if attended with great risk, because if Lee
gets his army across the Susquehannah
and puts our army on the defensive on that line, you will readily comprehend the disastrous results that must follow to the country.’
Secretary E. M. Stanton
to General Dana
in command at Philadelphia
, dated War Department, June 29th (408): ‘It is very important that machinery for manufacturing arms should not fall into the hands of the enemy, and that it should be preserved for the use of the government.
In case of imminent danger to the works of Alfred Jenks
& Son, of Philadelphia
, who is manufacturing arms for the government, you are authorized and directed to impress steam tugs, barges or any description of vessels to remove the gun-manufacturing machines beyond the reach of the enemy.’
These extracts indicate what the highest officials of the United States Government thought were some of the possibilities before General Lee
, and also that Harrisburg
would not have attempted to resist an attack by Ewell
It is presumed that General Lee
knew something of these conditions, for he had always heretofore kept himself well-informed in regard to the conditions he had to encounter.
He must have known something of the quality of the militia, for Early
's cavalry had come upon a full regiment of this militia at Gettysburg
, which had dispersed so quickly that Jenkins
could not get in sight of it. York
had been abandoned by the military, and the municipal officers met Early
several miles from the city to treat for its surrender.
Again, at Wrightsville
, 1,200 militia had retreated across the bridge and set fire to it, before Gordon
could get his brigade in position to attack.
writes (p. 467): ‘I regretted very much the failure to secure the bridge, as, finding the defenseless condition of the country generally, and the little obstacle likely to be afforded by the militia to our progress, I had determined, if I could get possession of the Columbia bridge
, to cross my division over the Susquehannah