previous next

[103] though superior in numbers, could not afford to have his progress delayed, and he shook off Kilpatrick as quickly as possible and resumed his march. In a letter written by General Reynolds, on the 30th, to Butterfield, chief of staff, he says: ‘If we are to fight a defensive battle in this vicinity, the proper position is just north of Emmittsburg, covering the Plank road to Taneytown. He (the enemy), will undoubtedly endeavor to turn our left by way of Fairfield, and the mountain road leading down into the Frederick and Emmittsburg pike near Mt. St. Mary's College.’

Circulars and orders issued on the 30th, from army headquarters, show General Meade to have been altogether undecided at this time what course he should pursue. It was announced in one of these, that the Commanding General had received information that the enemy was advancing, probably in strong force, on Gettysburg, and it was his intention to hold the army ‘pretty nearly in its present position until the plans of the enemy were more fully developed.’

General orders of the same date from headquarters, directed the advance of the first, third and eleventh corps to Gettysburg, while a letter, also of the same date, written by Meade to Reynolds, at I:30 A. M., after advising him of the location of the enemy, adds the following postscript: ‘If, after occupying your present position, it is your judgment that you would be in a better position at Emmittsburg than where you are, you can fall back without waiting for the enemy or for further orders. Your present position was given more with a view to an advance on Gettysburg, than a defensive point.’

During the day of the 30th, and as late as midnight, dispatches from General Couch, at Harrisburg, continued to pour into Washington, that the Confederate forces were rapidly leaving Carlisle and moving towards the Cumberland Valley. These dispatches forwarded to General Meade, must have caused him to change his mind, after the orders were issued to Reynolds to occupy Gettysburg the next day, for on July 1st, a circular was issued from headquarters at Taneytown, stating: ‘The Commanding General was satisfied the object of the movements made by his army had been accomplished by the relief of Harrisburg, ’

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 Places (automatically extracted)
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.
Reynolds (3)
Meade (3)
Kilpatrick (1)
Couch (1)
Butterfield (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.
30th (3)
July 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: