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Chapter 22:

Losing up the ranks of his victorious but decimated army, the veterans of which he could not replace, Lee did all in his power to follow up the victory of Chancellorsville by an aggressive movement on the army of the Potomac. But for his meagerly supplied commissariat he would, earlier in the spring of 1863, have moved upon Milroy at Winchester, in the lower Shenandoah valley, confident that by so doing he could draw Hooker from the northern neck of Virginia into the more open country, where he could find opportunity for striking him an effective blow. He had urged this view upon President Davis before the campaign of Chancellorsville, and had asked that troops might be drawn from the more Southern States to reinforce his army, confident that his plan of campaign would furnish more relief to the Confederacy than could be gained by holding scattered forces to defend distant positions.

Longstreet rejoined Lee in May at Fredericksburg, with the portion of his troops that had been wintering near Suffolk, south of the James, where supplies were more abundant and easy of access. The general commanding then proceeded to reorganize his army, by dividing it into three corps—the First under Longstreet, the Second under Ewell (who having lost a leg at Second Manassas, had just returned from hospital), and the Third under A. P. Hill—and worked untiringly to get his army into condition for a forward movement, constantly urging the Confederate government to add to his numbers in Virginia, and to those of Johnston and Pemberton in Mississippi, so that these two armies might be strong enough to strike efficient and simultaneous blows on the great Federal armies that opposed them, leaving local defenses to the local soldiery. His pleadings were unheeded, but he continued resolutely to prepare for another campaign, apprehensive lest Hooker's vastly [396] superior numbers might possibly force him back to the trenches around Richmond. Lee's plan of campaign, as he detailed it to Col. A. L. Long, of his staff, in his tent in the rear of Fredericksburg, was to maneuver Hooker from his almost unreachable stronghold between the Rappahannock and the Potomac, and bring him to battle at Chambersburg in Pennsylvania, in the Great valley, or at York or Gettysburg in the Piedmont region of the same State, thus transferring the destructive agencies of war to northern soil, where he could readily subsist his army on the country; and by a decisive victory cause the evacuation of Washington and compel the Federal government to withdraw Grant from the siege of Vicksburg. This was, doubtless, the identical campaign that Jackson had in view, and which he probably had discussed with Lee during the preceding winter, when he ordered the preparation of a detailed map extending from the Rappahannock to the Susquehanna.

Lee's army at this time consisted of Stuart's cavalry corps, of about 6,000 men; the artillery corps, under Pendleton, with some 200 guns, and his veteran infantry, in all about 6,000 men, whom he had ready to march northward by the close of May. On the 3d of June he directed his right, under Longstreet, to move toward Culpeper, marching across the whole length of the scene of his recent victories at Salem church and Chancellorsville; followed by Ewell, who with eager interest scanned the field of victory as he rode across it at the head of Jackson's old troops. With his usual heroic audacity, Lee left his smallest corps, that under A. P. Hill, at Fredericksburg, to restrain Hooker from any ‘on to Richmond’ he might rashly attempt to make.

By the 8th Lee had concentrated the commands of Stuart, Longstreet and Ewell in front of Culpeper Court House, with his advance pickets on the Rappahannock. On that day Stuart had a grand cavalry review on the broad and then unobstructed open around Brandy Station, which was witnessed by most of the principal officers of the infantry corps in the vicinity and by Lee in person. That night the Federal cavalry forced the passage of the Rappahannock, and on the morning of the 9th fell upon Stuart's encampment, when a furious, and at times hand-to-hand, engagement followed, which lasted [397] the greater portion of the day. Stuart, after a most valorous fight, finally succeeded in driving the Federal cavalry back across the Rappahannock, with very considerable loss. Hooker had ordered this reconnoissance, with cavalry followed by infantry, to find out what Lee was doing; for as yet he was in profound ignorance, concerning his northward movement.

After the repulse of the Federal cavalry, Lee ordered Ewell with the Second corps to cross the Blue ridge at Chester gap, and drive the Federal force under Milroy, at Winchester, from the Valley; ordering Jenkins, at the same time, to move his cavalry brigade down the Valley, in the same direction, while Imboden moved his brigade down the South Branch valley, in the mountain country, to threaten Milroy from Romney on the west. On the 13th, Ewell appeared in front of Winchester and a portion of his advance at Martinsburg, while Jenkins broke the line of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, thus preventing reinforcements to Milroy from the west. Closing around Winchester on the 14th, Ewell, by a bold and well-planned flank movement of Early to the left, drove Milroy, late in the day, from his strong intrenchments, captured a large portion of his army and his military stores, and scattered the troops that escaped, following them on the 15th to Harper's Ferry, thus again relieving the lower valley and the patriotic city of Winchester from a detested and tyrannical foe, such as Milroy had proved himself to be in waging war on defenseless women and children. Ewell's captures were 4,000 prisoners, many wagons, and a large quantity of military stores. On this same 15th of June, Jenkins moved on Chambersburg with his cavalry, and Ewell's advance crossed the Potomac, while Longstreet followed, from Culpeper, to hold the passes of the Blue ridge, closely followed by Hill to Culpeper, who had remained in front of Fredericksburg until he saw the army of the Potomac disappear, marching to the northward toward Washington.

Thus was Lee steadily pressing the army of Northern Virginia northward, to the Chambersburg objective of his premeditated plan of campaign, the way having been opened by disposing of Milroy's 10,000 at Winchester, by capture and rout, and driving the other scattered forces in the lower valley into Harper's Ferry, which he now passed by, leaving a small force in observation to [398] hold its garrison in position. By the 17th of June the long column of the Confederate army was stretched from Culpeper in Virginia to Chambersburg in Pennsylvania, Jenkins' cavalry holding the latter place. Ewell's advanced division was encamped, in the midst of abundance, near Hagerstown; another was in a like favorable encampment near Sharpsburg, while his third division was approaching the fords of the Potomac, near Shepherdstown. Longstreet was crossing the Blue ridge to the banks of the Shenandoah, guarding the passes of that mountain chain from the eastward; while Stuart held the Piedmont country and the passes through the Bull Run mountains, thus keeping Hooker within bounds with his great army encamped from Manassas, near Bull run, to Leesburg, near the Potomac, striving to keep pace with Lee's speedy northward movement.

For five days Stuart held steady contention with Hooker's cavalry, effectually veiling Lee's movements, and then holding Ashby's gap of the Blue ridge against superior numbers, but with Longstreet just behind him, all along the ridge, while A. P. Hill passed the rear of the latter, by Chester gap, and rested in the Great valley, in and on the borders of which Lee had now gathered all of his army, except the cavalry immediately in charge of Stuart, which continued to hover around Hooker's flanks and rear. Lee had offered Hooker battle with Longstreet's corps, looking threateningly from the eastern slopes of the Blue ridge; but when that was not accepted, and Hooker still continued south of the Potomac, Lee boldly withdrew Longstreet to the western side of the Shenandoah, and on the 18th, from the vicinity of Millwood, ordered Longstreet and Hill to follow Ewell across the Potomac, satisfied that by so doing he would draw Hooker into Maryland. Hill crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown on the 18th, followed by Longstreet except McLaws' division, which was left with Stuart to watch the passes of the Blue ridge and the roads of the Shenandoah valley until Hooker should have crossed the Potomac. Imboden was also ordered into Pennsylvania, moving to the west of the Great valley, and it was suggested to Gen. Sam Jones that his cavalry should march his command into northwestern Virginia and menace the line of the Baltimore & Ohio. Lee also asked that the brigades left at Richmond should be sent [399] to join him. His force in hand for this important, aggressive northern campaign was about 60,000 men. As he entered Pennsylvania he issued an order instructing his army that ‘No private property shall be injured or destroyed;’ an order that was rigidly enforced during all the campaign that followed.

Feeling that his left was securely guarded by Jones and Imboden, and his advance by Jenkins, Lee, looking after the safety of his right, wrote to Stuart, on the 22d: ‘Do you know where Hooker is, and what he is doing? I fear he will steal a march on us and get across the Potomac before we are aware. If you find that he is moving northward, and that two brigades can guard the Blue ridge and take care of your rear, you can move with the other three into Maryland and take position on General Ewell's right, place yourself in communication with him, guard his flank, keep him informed of the enemy's movements, and collect all the supplies you can for the use of the army.’ On the same day he directed Ewell to move toward the Susquehanna and, ‘if Harrisburg comes within your means, capture it.’

On the 23d of June, Ewell was marching rapidly up the Cumberland valley toward Carlisle, while Lee was preparing to lead the First and Third corps across the Potomac to follow him. Stuart was enjoined to keep two of his brigades of cavalry along the eastern foot of the Blue ridge between Lee and Hooker, while a large discretion was granted him in the movement of the three other brigades under his immediate command, with the sole condition that he should, ‘as speedily as possible,’ join Ewell's advance, which, he was informed, had been sent under Early across the South mountain to York, to father supplies and levy contributions on that wealthy Pennsylvania town. Lee's last word to Stuart reached the latter during the night of the 23d of June. On that day Lee wrote to Davis again urging him to gather all the troops he could and send them, under Beauregard, to Culpeper Court House, as a menace to Washington, and therefore a virtual reinforcement to his own movement, but without leaving Richmond defenseless.

Justly alarmed by Lee's bold and rapid movement toward the very heart of Pennsylvania, the Federal government called for 10,000 new troops to defend that State; concentrated a considerable force in Maryland, [400] and ordered Hooker to the north bank of the Potomac, to interpose his army between Lee and Washington. The chronicles of the day record-this remarkable prayer, by President Lincoln: ‘O, Lord, this is your fight; but we, your humble followers and supporters here, can't stand another Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville.’

From Williamsport, on the 25th, where Longstreet was crossing the Potomac, Lee wrote to President Davis saying, that if the whole of Hooker's army was concentrated upon him he could accomplish nothing, and would be compelled to return to Virginia; but urged that it would be a great relief to him if even the effigy of an army, under Beauregard, were concentrated at Culpeper. He insisted that he would have to abandon his line of communication because he had not the men to hold it; but he still thought he could draw Hooker across the Potomac and compel the Federal government to bring troops from the South, to defend its capital, and thus defeat its plans of invasion. Another letter followed, the next day, again urging an advance upon Washington from Culpeper.

On the 27th, Ewell was in Carlisle; his advance, under Early, had crossed the South mountain and was nearing York. The same day that Lee, in person, crossed the Potomac, June 25th, Hooker began crossing the same river, a fact of which Lee was still in ignorance, at Chambersburg, on the 27th; as Stuart was that day crossing the Potomac, at the mouth of Seneca creek, not far from Washington, between Hooker's army and that city, and was rapidly riding northward into Pennsylvania, cumbered with the spoils he had captured in the rear of Hooker's army.

By the 28th Hooker had concentrated four corps of his army at Frederick and three at Middletown, on the National turnpike, a few miles to the westward; so that seven Federal corps were available for a rapid movement across South mountain to Hagerstown, to the rear of Lee's army, which was now some miles to the northeast of that town in the Cumberland valley. At this juncture of affairs, Hooker demanded that the 10,000 men, left in garrison at Harper's Ferry, should join his command in the field. This brought on an issue with his government, which resulted in his displacement and the putting of Gen. George Meade in command of the army of the Potomac, on the 28th day of June, the fourth change in the [401] 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 at Chambersburg; 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 Columbia, 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 to Gettysburg, 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 and Baltimore, 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.’ Lee 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 toward Cashtown, Lee remaining in the former with the First corps, watching the development of his plans. Late in the same day Ewell received, at Carlisle, Lee's order of concentration, [402] just as he was about to follow his cavalry advance to attack Harrisburg, where the governor of Pennsylvania, with the militia of that State, was in constant expectation of his appearance before that city, which he was ready to evacuate. Ewell promptly sent orders to Early, at York, to fall back to Cashtown, and prepared to move in that direction the next morning with the remainder of his command.

Meade, informed of the advance of Ewell to York and toward Harrisburg, at once changed the direction of his army, as Lee had anticipated he would, and on the evening of the 29th two of his corps bivouacked near Emmitsburg, and one near Taneytown, just south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania line and on highways leading toward Gettysburg; while four others of his corps encamped in the rear of these, along Pipe creek, an eastern tributary of the Monocacy, in a good defensive position covering the approaches to Baltimore. Buford's cavalry covered the Federal front within the Pennsylvania line near Fairfield, guarding the approaches from Cashtown and Gettysburg. These two great contention-seeking armies were now but a few miles apart; and yet there is evidence that neither leader was aware of the exact whereabouts of the other.

Stuart, entirely out of communication with Lee, broke the line of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad on the morning of the 29th, thus interrupting Meade's communication with Washington, and that evening rested at Westminster, but a few miles to the eastward of Meade's bivouacs. On the 30th he again rode northward, fighting his way through the Federal cavalry at Hanover, on the railway from York to Gettysburg, but much delayed by the long train of mule teams that he had captured in the vicinity of Washington, and in utter ignorance of the fact that the famous battle of Gettysburg had already begun, but a few miles to the westward from his line of march. Stuart was pressing forward to join Ewell's advance, under Early, in the vicinity of York, marching all night toward his destination, passing but seven miles to the eastward of Early's bivouac, still believing that the latter was at York, where the rendezvous with him had been appointed by Lee, and whither he rode but to find Early gone. Having no knowledge of the direction he had taken, Stuart continued to Carlisle, and thence, by a wide [403] circuit, his men well-nigh exhausted, to Gettysburg, where he appeared on Lee's left.

A. P. Hill's advance, under Pettigrew, reached Cashtown, where by its orders it should have awaited the concentration of Lee's army, its mission being the taking and holding of Lee's chosen defensive position. Unfortunately, on the 30th, while Longstreet was still west of the mountains, at Greenwood, and before even Hill's corps was closed up, Pettigrew's brigade, of Heth's division, was allowed to march over the eight miles from Cashtown to Gettysburg in search of shoes. In the vicinity of that town it came in collision with Buford's Federal cavalry, and the great battle of Gettysburg was thus unwittingly and unordered begun, though but in a skirmish. Pettigrew hastened back to Cashtown, late in the day, and on the morning of July 1st, at 5 a. m., A. P. Hill, always ready and anxious for a fight, but so far as known without orders from General Lee, sent the divisions of Heth and Pender toward Gettysburg, as Hill says in his report, ‘to discover what was in my front.’ He soon found out; for when he advanced his skirmishers to near Gettysburg, expecting to find only Buford's Federal cavalry, he brought on an engagement with two corps of Meade's army, which Buford had called to his aid the evening before, when he found that infantry was in his front.

In the fierce combat which Hill brought on, just to the west of Gettysburg, on the 1st of July, he soon got the worst of it, as the power of numbers was arrayed against him; so he sent messengers to Ewell, who was, in obedience to orders, approaching Cashtown from the east, asking for help. Giving heed to this urgent call, Ewell turned toward Gettysburg, and on arriving in its vicinity on the north, he promptly moved into line of battle, nearly at right angles to the pending combat between Hill and the Federals under Reynolds; fell upon the right flank of the latter and well-nigh demolished his command, killing the leader with many of his men, capturing numerous prisoners, and driving the remainder of the two corps in confusion through the streets of Gettysburg, to the southward, toward Meade's main army.

On this same 1st day of July, Lee, with Longstreet, crossed the South mountain, and heard with amazement the noise of the battle that Hill had begun at Gettysburg [404] at sunrise, for his express orders had been, both to Hill and to Ewell, that they should not bring on a general engagement until after the concentration of his army at Cashtown; and now Hill was engaged, at the very beginning of the day, in hot contention, eight miles away from Lee's selected defensive position, where the ‘strength of the hills’ would have been his, in the open country about Gettysburg, where mere numbers would have greatly the advantage in an engagement. General Anderson, of Longstreet's command, reports that Lee was listening intently, as he rode along, to the sound of Hill's guns, miles away to the eastward, and then saying: ‘I cannot think what has become of Stuart; I ought to have heard from him long before now. He may have met with disaster, but I hope not. In the absence of reports from him, I am in ignorance as to what we have in front of us here. It may be the whole Federal army, or it may be only a detachment. If it is the whole Federal force we must fight a battle here; if we do not gain a victory, these defiles and gorges through which we were passing this morning will shelter us from disaster.’

Reaching Cashtown by the middle of the forenoon, Lee anxiously awaited information from the front. This he soon had, in a call from Hill for assistance, when at once he gave orders to Longstreet to close up his command, and rode rapidly to the scene of action, where he arrived in time to witness the grand advance of his Second corps through Gettysburg, between 4 and 5 in the afternoon, by which 5,000 or more Federal prisoners were captured; four Confederate divisions having snatched victory from the five Federal ones that had defeated Hill, and not only fought bravely, but held tenaciously the field of combat and inflicted severe losses on the victors. The old fighting spirit of Jackson's men was fully aroused by the great success they had again won over the Federal corps that they had so recently routed at Chancellorsville, and they were eager to follow in pursuit of the 6,oco Federals remaining of the 20,000 that had been engaged, in refuge behind the stone walls and outcropping rocks of the Gettysburg ridge, or Cemetery hill. Lee himself was fired by a like desire, and through Adjt.-Gen. Walter H. Taylor he sent an order to Ewell: ‘Press those people and secure the hill if possible.’ [405]

At that hour, big with promise, the Confederates had also possession of the chief point of vantage, for their advance was entirely through the town of Gettysburg and beyond its southern border, up to the very gates of the now famous cemetery, and Early, also flushed with victory, the credit for which was in large part due to his division, was forming two of his brigades to the east of the town, and requesting Hill to join his right with a division from Seminary ridge, to move forward and dispossess the small Federal force that still heroically held on to Cemetery hill and covered the roads by which Meade must advance from the southward. At this same time, about 5 in the afternoon, General Ewell sent Capt. J. P. Smith to General Lee, asking that the forward movement he was preparing might be supported by Hill or Longstreet. Lee was found on Seminary ridge, accompanied by Longstreet, and Hill was near at hand. The latter was reluctant to send to Ewell his two divisions, which so recently had been hotly engaged. Lee then urged Longstreet to hurry forward McLaws and Hood, who were advancing from Cashtown to join Ewell's advance, and sent word to the latter, by Captain Smith, that he would support his advance on his right as soon as he could, concluding: ‘I wish him to use whatever opportunity he has to advance and hold the ground in his front.’

As Ewell was holding his men in check, impatient to advance as soon as they were reformed, to the south of Gettysburg, a young staff officer came riding rapidly from the rear, with a message to General Early from Brig.-Gen. William Smith, who had recently been sent to the army to take command of Early's old brigade, which Early had left as a rear guard on the road to York, north of Gettysburg, as he advanced, distrusting the management of its leader in an engagement. Smith's message was that a Federal force was advancing upon his rear, from the direction of York. Instead of paying no attention to this report, which he well knew could have no foundation, Early halted his advance movement and countermarched one of his best brigades, under Gordon, to assist Smith in meeting this imagined Federal movement on his rear. The delay caused by this episode chilled in Ewell the ardor of pursuit, and he refused the appeal of Early and Rodes for an immediate assault upon [406] the Federals, who still showed a bold front by a constant firing of infantry and artillery, desiring to have Gordon again in place-and to have Johnson's division, which had been marching forward from Cashtown, in advance of Longstreet, to extend his line to the eastward, that he might scale Culp's hill and turn the Federal right at the same time that he made attack in front. The reinforcements from Longstreet did not appear, but Johnson arrived upon the field after sundown and then halted north of the town, in the vicinity of Pennsylvania college. This lack of energy and failure of concerted action by Lee's corps commanders lost to the Confederates the great advantages they had gained during the day, which, if followed up in ‘Stonewall's way,’ would, in so far as one can forecast events, have resulted in crushing the Federal army in detail, as it was stretched along the road for miles to the southward from Gettysburg, marching in wearied columns and encumbered with its great army trains.

The plan of pushing the attack abandoned; Lee met Early, Ewell and Rodes in conference after dark, to the north of Gettysburg, near the road leading to Carlisle. He now had information of the arrival of more Federal troops upon the scene of action; that Hancock was in command, and had 8,600 men, under Slocum, in line of battle to the south of Gettysburg, holding the crests of Cemetery ridge and Culp's hill, and thus fully protecting Meade's advance. Lee, in this conference with his subordinates, expressed an earnest desire to attack the Federals at daylight the next day, July 2d, if at all practicable, asking Ewell if he could not, with his corps, attack the enemy's right on the morrow. These Second corps leaders called General Lee's attention to the rugged hilltops already occupied by Federal troops, that loomed before them in the late twilight of a midsummer day, and argued that gradual approach to the Federal position from the westward was more favorable for an attack by the Confederate right. It is reported, by one of these officers, that Lee's next question was, ‘Perhaps I had better draw you around toward my right, as the line will be very long and thin if you remain here, and the enemy may come down and break through it.’ Early reports that Ewell then asserted that he could not only hold the ground already in his possession, but that [407] he could capture Culp's hill and threaten the Federal right; an offer he Would have hardly made had he known the formidable character of the rocky ascent to that hill. After this, writes Early, Lee said: ‘Well, if I attack upon my right, Longstreet will have to make the attack.’ Then pausing, with head bowed in reflection, he looked up and added: ‘Longstreet is a very good fighter when he gets in position and gets everything ready, but he is so slow.’

After his conference with Ewell, Lee formed his plans for the 2d of July. It was his intention to strike with his right at daylight, or as soon as practicable after that time; this to be followed by Ewell on his left. Returning to his headquarters, Lee met Hill and Longstreet. The latter urged that he withdraw his army from before Gettysburg and place it between Meade and Washington, and thus force the Federal commander to offensive battle. This was but an extension of Lee's second suggestion to Ewell about a concentration on his right. Trusting to Ewell's promise as to what he could do the next day, Lee adhered to the plan he had already adopted, of an assault by both his wings; hoping that by so doing he could defeat the Federal advance before its rear could close up, and bring about its defeat in detail. He then ordered Longstreet to move McLaws and Hood to open the battle on his right, while Hill engaged the center, and repeated his order to Ewell for attacking Culp's hill on the left, but not until he should hear Longstreet's guns and thus be sure of a simultaneous movement and attack.

The divisions of Hood and McLaws, of the First corps, left their camps at Fayetteville in the valley west of the South mountain, on the morning of July 1st, and reached the valley of Willoughby run, northwest of Gettysburg, by midnight of that day, having been retarded by Ewell's wagon train, in charge of Johnson's division, which was on the road in their front. The leading brigade, under Kershaw, bivouacked within two miles of Gettysburg. Pickett's division was left at Chambersburg, in charge of the reserve trains, and Law's brigade at New Guilford. During the night of the 1st Longstreet ordered McLaws to march forward at 4 a. m. of the 2d, but later this was changed to ‘early in the morning.’ The same night he ordered Law and Pickett to march to Gettysburg on the 2d. [408]

Lee's official report sets forth the state of affairs confronting him, and his reasons for making battle, in these words:

It had not been intended to deliver a general battle so far from our base of supplies unless attacked, but coming unexpectedly upon the whole Federal army, to withdraw through the mountains with our extensive trains would have been difficult and dangerous. At the same time we were unable to await an attack, as the country was not favorable for collecting supplies in the presence of the enemy, who could restrain our foraging parties by holding the mountain passes with local and other troops. A battle had, therefore, become in a measure unavoidable, and a success already gained gave hope of a favorable issue.

At sunrise of July 2d, less than 10,000 men of the First and Second corps of Meade's army held Cemetery hill, with 8,600, under Slocum, on their right and left, and 9,000 of the Third corps, under Birney and Humphreys, in supporting distance. If Lee had attacked at the rising of the sun, at about half-past 4, as he had expected to do; or at any time before 7 o'clock, he would have found but 27,000 Federals to oppose his assault; but at 7 the Second Federal corps and two divisions of the Fifth reached the field; by 8 another brigade of the Fifth arrived; by 9 two brigades of the Third appeared; and by half-past 10 Meade's strong reserve artillery was in place on Cemetery ridge. By midday another division of the Fifth corps came, while Sedgwick, still far from the field, was at that hour urging forward the 15,000 men of the Sixth corps; arrivals that could have been successively met and defeated in detail, had Ewell followed up the advantages of the day before, at the moment of victory, without taking ‘counsel of his fears,’ and relying on the enthusiasm of his well-tried and reliable veterans to ‘press forward’ after a retreating foe.

Lee dispatched his breakfast and was in the saddle before daylight of the 2d, eager to grasp victory from the opportunity that he knew he then had, of falling upon but a portion of the Federal army while the larger part of it was still miles away and but wearily advancing to the field of battle. Before the sun was up, he had an officer on Round Top, looking along the Emmitsburg and Taneytown roads to see whether Federal reinforcements were advancing, and as the morning fully dawned, he swept with his fine glasses, from the Seminary ridge, the Federal lines on Culp's and Cemetery hills, in the meantime [409] anxiously watching for the coming of Longstreet's two divisions, those of McLaws and Hood, and for that of Anderson's of Hill's corps, that he might begin the battle on his right at the hour appointed with Ewell. But Anderson did not move until 7, and not until 8 did his skirmishers, under Wilcox, drive in those of the Federal center, and it was 9 before Hill's line of battle, on Seminary ridge, with its right resting on the Emmitsburg road, was ready to advance. Longstreet's movements were still tardier than Hill's. His two divisions did not leave their Willoughby run bivouac until after sunrise, and it was 8 o'clock when his first brigade, Kershaw's of McLaws' division, reached Seminary ridge, where Lee was impatiently waiting-seated on the trunk of a fallen tree consulting a map, writes McLaws—with Longstreet ‘walking up and down a little way off, apparently in an impatient humor.’

Hood's division followed McLaws, but that intrepid leader had ridden to the front, and joined Lee at his post of observation soon after daylight. Hood thus describes what he saw and heard: ‘General Lee, with coat buttoned up to the throat, saber belt around his waist, and field glass pending at his side, walked up and down in the shade of large trees near us, halting now and then to observe the enemy. He seemed full of hope, yet at times buried in deep thought.’ Lee said to Hood: ‘The enemy is here, and if we do not whip him, he will whip us.’

Longstreet had joined Lee in the early morning, but hours passed before any of his men appeared, and victory, which the fighting ancients pictured with wings, took her flight to the ridge held by the army of the Potomac. Longstreet importuned Lee to move around to the right, but when the latter would not agree to change his plan, Longstreet asked that the attack on the right be delayed until the arrival of Pickett's division. It was characteristic of Longstreet, as of most stubborn men, that he always desired to follow a plan of his own suggestion, rather than that of his commander-in-chief, and so, with dogged persistence, he continued to urge his own plan upon Lee, but without avail, as he had determined to attack as soon as Longstreet's men should arrive. His advance appeared at about 8 o'clock, having consumed three hours of the day in a march of from two to four miles. The head of his column was at once [410] turned southward, behind Hill's corps posted on Seminary ridge, and halted near the Black Horse tavern, where the Hagerstown road crosses Marsh creek. Hill did not get into his assigned position until about 9.

The most opportune time for the assault had passed, but there was yet time to rout Meade's left, if the attack were promptly made. The Federals had not yet occupied the two commanding heights of Round Top and Little Round Top, that dominated their left on the south, and Meade's army in hand was held within a narrow compass on the Cemetery and Culp hills. Lee pointed out to McLaws, on the map, the position on the Emmitsburg road, at right angles to that near the peach orchard, that he desired him to occupy, telling him to gain that, if possible, without being seen by the enemy. Longstreet interposed, directing McLaws to place his line parallel to the turnpike. Lee promptly made reply: ‘No, General, no; I want his position perpendicular to the Emmitsburg road,’ thus clearly indicating his design to move squarely upon the Federal left. Shortly after 9, Lee informed Hill that Longstreet would thus take position, nearly perpendicular to Hill's line, and drive the enemy toward Gettysburg. After having given these orders for immediate attack by Longstreet and Hill, Lee rode to Ewell's position, on his left, finding the latter still confident that he could turn the Federal right on Culp's hill with Johnson, while Early, who had been waiting in line since 2 o'clock in the morning, was ready to advance on Cemetery hill, from the streets of Gettysburg. After waiting impatiently, with Ewell, for Longstreet to begin the attack, Lee rode back, at about noon, to Seminary ridge, to ascertain what had detained Longstreet. The latter, in his official report, after stating the orders he had received from Lee to attack, adds: ‘Fearing that my force was too weak to venture to make an attack, I delayed until General Law's brigade joined its division (Hood's).’ Law arrived about noon, after a march of 24 miles in the preceding half day, and at 1 o'clock Longstreet began his forward movement. Two hours were consumed in marches and countermarches, in a vain effort to conceal the movement from the Federal signal station on Round Top, and it was about 4 in the afternoon before the corps was in position for beginning the attack. [411]

At an early hour on this same July 2d, Meade directed the preparation of an order for the retreat of his army, and his corps commanders were in council considering this, when Longstreet's guns, in the mid-afternoon, called them to their posts of duty and the defense of their left. Just at that time Sickles, of his own motion, pushed his corps forward on the Emmitsburg road and took position between the peach orchard and Little Round Top, thus facing Longstreet's movement under McLaws. Hood, farther to the right, was expected to fall on the left flank of the Federal line and force it toward Gettysburg.

Meade's lines at this time extended from his left, near Round Top, almost due north along the western side of the Taneytown road to Cemetery hill, then curved to the eastward around the front of that hill and the crest of Culp's hill, with his extreme right turned in reverse to the westward. One corps was on his left, the Second under Hancock in the center, and the Twelfth and the fragments of the First and Eleventh held the right on the Cemetery and Culp hills. The Fifth was in reserve in the valley of Rock creek, on the road leading southeast toward Baltimore. Longstreet and Sickles now confronted each other, each with about 12,000 men.

Law ascertained, as he advanced, that the Federal left flank was unprotected, and he and Hood urged Longstreet to move farther to the right and occupy Round Top, and thus turn the Federal left, rather than advance along the Emmitsburg road, which was commanded by the Federal artillery, while its infantry was well protected by the stone fences and outcropping rocks along its position. Longstreet's reply to the thrice-repeated request and protest was, ‘General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmitsburg road.’ So the advance began, against a furious cannonade in which Hood was wounded, attacking Sickles' left in the rocky and brush-tangled point known as the Devil's Den. Law took his assigned place, and pressing boldly forward drove the Federal brigades from their position, which they held with great tenacity, and captured three pieces of cannon. His right then crossed the northern slope of Round Top and advanced toward Little Round Top, while his center rushed to gain that important point in the field of contest; but Warren promptly led a brigade and a battery, [412] from the Fifth corps, and gaining the summit of this little mountain before Law, drove him back to the shelter of Devil's Den.

Longstreet's chief of artillery, Col. E. P. Alexander, got the better of the Federal artillery in the peach orchard, and McLaws pressed rapidly forward, as soon as Longstreet would let him go, took issue with Sickles, and drove his men back, over the stone fences at the peach orchard, in a fierce contest. Alexander joined in the charge with six batteries. Three Federal divisions, numbering 13,000 men, were then sent in quick succession to the aid of Sickles; but these were all forced back with the loss of half their numbers by Longstreet's courageous men, now flushed with success. It was 6 o'clock when the brigades on Hill's right moved up the Emmitsburg road, fell upon Sickles' right and drove it in retreat toward Cemetery ridge. By 7, Meade's left was completely driven back in defeat, and Longstreet's men were pressing forward to a new position at the base of the two little mountains. Three of Hill's brigades were at the same time advancing against Meade's center, but these failed to support, although one of them, under Wilcox, advanced to the very foot of Cemetery ridge and captured eight guns, while another, under Wright, in steady order ascended the long slope, crossing stone fences, and took the very crest of the ridge a little distance south of the Cemetery, where for a short time they were in possession of twenty Federal cannon. Meade's line was cut in two, and had Wright been supported it must have been forced to retreat. Even the brigades that started with him failed to support him, and Hill held his other divisions in line a mile to. the rear. Longstreet's bold fight had, undoubtedly, won the day, if Hill's corps had, in its entirety, performed its assigned duty. The writer witnessed, from Seminary ridge, the hurried movement of troops, from Meade's right on Culp's hill and the Cemetery, toward his broken center and left. Fortunately for the Federal commander, just then his Sixth corps, under Sedgwick, arrived upon the field and joined in driving back Wright's advance and checking the tile of defeat which had already set in.

Just before sunset, but after Longstreet's battle was ended and the Federal left re-established, Ewell began his tardy and long-delayed attack, which should have [413] been a simultaneous one, on the Federal right; and Stonewall Jackson's old division, under Edward Johnson, assaulted Culp's hill, fought its way up its rocky and brushy slope, and captured the first line of Federal intrenchments. Early also advanced, on Ewell's right, under a withering fire of infantry and artillery, overran the Eleventh corps and established himself in the Federal works on the summit of Cemetery hill; but Rodes, on his right, failed to advance, and so rendered no assistance to Early and held back Hill's left, which was to move in concert with Rodes. The Federal right was now reinforced by Hancock, from its center, and Early, flanked on his right, where Rodes should have protected him, was forced to retire. Night fell and ended the bloody conflict on the field of battle, but with Lee still sanguine of success, although he had lost heavily; for he knew that Meade had lost more in proportion. Lee's army was in fine spirits, satisfied that the combats of the day had resulted in their favor, and that a complete victory would have been won had Lee been able to secure a simultaneous attack by his right, his center and his left. Law held the Devil's Den, at the bases of the Round Tops; Johnson held the crest of Culp's hill, nearly around to the flank of the Federal right and the Baltimore road. Wright, in the center, and Early on the left, had broken through the Federal lines, and would doubtless have held the Cemetery ridge had they been adequately supported. Stuart had now arrived on the field, and was ready to still further threaten the Federal left and rear and the road leading toward Baltimore. Lee's artillery, a body, in its personnel, leading and equipment, of unsurpassed excellence, was in a good position and ready for duty.

Meade, disheartened by the results of the day's contests and alarmed for the safety of his army, was ready to retreat. Calling his twelve chief subordinates in council, they discussed the situation. Three of his corps had been badly shattered; 20,000 of his veterans were missing; but two of his army corps remained intact. Hancock's chief of staff records, ‘It was indeed a gloomy hour.’ The councilors were greatly divided in their opinions, and the only conclusion reached, after a long conference, was to remain another day and await Lee's assault. During the night Dahlgren, a Federal scout, [414] who had waylaid, in the Cumberland valley, a courier from Davis to Lee and captured his dispatches, reached Meade's headquarters. These dispatches showed that, through fear of a threatened Federal attack on Richmond, it would be impossible to comply with Lee's urgent request for concentrating a force in Culpeper, under Beauregard, and threatening Washington. This information relieved Meade's apprehensions about the safety of the capital which he had been charged to guard, and nerved him to hold on at Gettysburg for another day. The weight of testimony, especially that of President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton, shows that but for this timely arrival Meade would have fallen back that night to the line of Pipe creek, and there halted in defensive position, covering the approaches to Baltimore and Washington.

Lee determined to renew the attack on the 3d of July, as he had first planned it. Longstreet, now reinforced by Pickett's division, which had arrived from the Cumberland valley during the afternoon of the 2d, was to again attack the Federal left, advancing from the position he had gained at the Devil's Den; while Ewell was at the same time to assail the Federal right, after reinforcing Johnson with two brigades from Rodes and one from Early. Hill was again to advance from the center. When the morning of the 3d came, it was found that the Federal Fifth corps, supported by the Sixth, had during the night taken possession of the Round Tops, with both infantry and artillery strongly intrenched in that naturally strong position which dominated Lee's right and protected Meade's left. This wise action of the Federal commander forced Lee to change his plan. Ewell's artillery was already opening the way for his assault, and delay was dangerous. Lee promptly ordered Longstreet to organize a column of attack against Meade's center on Cemetery ridge, and breaking that to join Ewell by taking the Federal right in reverse. Hood and McLaws were to engage the Federal left, and if opportunity offered, to attack it. The two columns of attack by Longstreet were made up of Pickett's division on the right, and Pettigrew's (Heth's) division of Hill's corps on the left. Wilcox and Perry, of Anderson's division, were to guard Pickett's right, while Trimble, with the brigades of Lane and Scales, was to guard Pettigrew's [415] left. The rest of Hill's command was held in reserve, to be used as occasion might require. Ewell was already in hot and close contention on Culp's hill, when Lee gave the order to advance, confident that his column of attack could break through Meade's line where Wright had broken through it the day before, and then aid Ewell in crushing the Federal right. In person he pointed out to Longstreet a clump of trees, near the middle of Hancock's line, as marking the point to be attacked. From his position that part of the Federal line did not seem to be a strong one, except for the stone fences that bordered the roads and separated the fields, and thus gave protection to Hancock's men.

Lee prepared for the assault by opening on the Federal lines with masses of artillery. At 10 a. m. Alexander was in position with seventy-five guns, on the swell west of the Emmitsburg road; and R. Lindsey Walker with his sixty-three, from the Seminary ridge farther to the northward. It was expected that their heavy concentrated fire would silence the batteries on Cemetery ridge and open a safer way for Longstreet's assault, which these same batteries were to follow up, keeping pace with the infantry, protecting their flanks, and joining in the filial onslaught, as they had at Chancellorsville.

By 9 o'clock, Pickett and Pettigrew were in line, on Seminary ridge, and Ewell had made his desperate attack on Culp's hill, from which he was driven back with great loss, and left in no condition to resume the offensive and again make a simultaneous attack with Longstreet. At 12 o'clock the assaulting columns were advanced to the edge of the woods, in rear of the Confederate guns, ready to move forward at the word of command, which Longstreet states that he requested Colonel Alexander to give at his discretion. The artillery did not open until 1 o'clock, when it drew upon it the fire of seventy Federal cannon, and a mighty conflict, between great guns, raged across the 1,400 yards of interval between the opposing ridges. The long bolts from the Whitworth guns of the Confederates, on Seminary ridge, cut wide gaps in the Federal lines on Cemetery ridge; and the well-aimed shells from the same quarter wrought havoc as they fell within the enemy's lines, but these quickly closed up, in obedience to orders. Flame and smoke rose from the long lines of the opposing [416] ridges; the thunder of the cannon was deafening to the ears of all within miles of the conflict, and soon a dense volume of smoke settled down between the opposing armies, concealing each from the other. Gen. Francis A. Walker, Hancock's chief of staff, describes the effect of the Confederate artillery in these words:

The whole space behind Cemetery ridge was in a moment rendered uninhabitable. General headquarters were broken up; the supply and reserve ammunition trains were driven out; motley hordes of camp followers poured down the Baltimore pike or spread over the fields to the rear. Upon every side caissons exploded; horses were struck down by the hundreds; the air was filled with flying missiles; shells tore up the ground and then bounded for another and perhaps more deadly flight, or burst above the crouching troops and sent their ragged fragments down in deadly showers. Never had a storm so dreadful burst upon mortal man.

After enduring for a half hour the withering fire of the Confederate batteries, Meade retired eighteen of his guns from the Cemetery, when Alexander sent a note to Pickett, saying, ‘If you are coming at all, you must come at once.’ Seeking his corps commander, Pickett said, ‘General, shall I advance?’ Longstreet made no reply. Pickett saluted, and in firm voice said, ‘Sir, I shall lead my division forward;’ and he promptly ordered the charge of his own three brigades of Virginians and Heth's four of North Carolinians, Tennesseeans, Mississippians and Alabamians, under Pettigrew. These columns moved slowly from the woods that had concealed them, toward the Emmitsburg road. Trimble, with two brigades of North Carolinians, marched in the rear of Pettigrew's right. Wilcox had been ordered to guard Pickett's right with his Alabama brigade. Now 12,000 veteran infantrymen were marching, with steady step, across the 1,400 yards of open country between the contending armies. Once clear of the Confederate batteries, Pickett diverged his division to the left and moved toward the salient in Hancock's line. For a time the two opposing armies were silent spectators of this sublimely heroic advance, and not until half the ground to be gone over had been covered, did the batteries from Cemetery ridge and Round Top open on the Confederate assault, which then changed its steady pace, first to a double-quick, then to a rushing charge, closing up its ranks as they were broken by shot or shell, crossing the strong post and rail fences on the Emmitsburg road, [417] and unflinchingly facing the musketry and the canister of Meade's guns.

To General Lee's amazement, his batteries did not support this movement by engaging those of Meade. He did not know that the hour of furious and rapid cannonade that preceded the charge, had nearly exhausted his artillery ammunition, and his on-rushing columns were now meeting the fire of both infantry and artillery without the support even of the guns that were to have gone forward in the attacking column. Alexander had ordered nine howitzers to move with Pickett to the very front of the battle, but these had disappeared without his orders. Securing fifteen guns that still had ammunition, Alexander moved these up behind Pickett's division.

Firing diagonally upon his left, the Federal guns, from the Cemetery, wrought sad havoc in Pettigrew's line, and Trimble's men, with quickening pace, were soon mingled with those of Pettigrew's right, which a Vermont brigade, by bold attack, forced toward his left. The guns from Round Top secured an enfilade on the Confederate columns, but these pressed forward to within 100 yards of the wall held by the Federals, when they began filing to the rear. With rapid fire and wild yell, Pettigrew's right, Pickett's left and Trimble mingling in a charge, rushed upon and took possession of the stone wall held by the enemy, capturing prisoners and silencing batteries. Pouring in, from right and left, the Federals then engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with the heroic Confederates who had so courageously broken their center, and a fearful contest and carnage ensued, where the men of equal valor strove for the mastery. Nearly every field officer present, on either side, fell among the dead and wounded men of their commands.

Pickett's second line, Armistead's Virginia brigade, rushed to the stone wall almost as soon as the line that preceded it, and for some minutes his men were masters of the deserted front. The commander of a Federal brigade, who had been forced back under a heavy fire, says of this supreme moment, ‘The enemy was rapidly gaining a foothold; organization was mostly lost; in the confusion commands were useless, while a disposition on the part of the men to fall back a pace or two at a time to load gave the line a retiring direction.’

For the time the grand assault was successful, and [418] Meade's center was completely broken, and if Lee's artillery had been at hand, as ordered, Pickett would doubtless have held the captured works and forced the Federals from Cemetery ridge. A fresh line of Federal infantry soon advanced along the crest and fired, but the Confederates drove these back. Then Armistead, with his hat on the point of his uplifted saber as a guide, leaped over the stone wall, shouting, ‘Boys, we must use the cold steel. Who will follow?’ Every man obeyed the call, and the charge reached to the crest of the ridge, to seize the Federal guns; but there the leader fell, and his men retired behind the stone wall, anxiously awaiting reinforcements. Lieutenant Finley (now, 1898, Rev. George W. Finley, D. D.), looking back over the track of Pickett's bold advance, was surprised to see it marked by so few dead or wounded men. At this critical juncture an unknown voice, from the ranks, called out, ‘Retreat!’ and many turned to flee; most of them to fall under the Federal fire that followed after them. The reassured Federals swarmed in from every side and captured the 4,000 Confederates that, unsupported, were still holding the stone fences.

Pickett's columns had been moving, for at least a half hour, before Longstreet ordered Wilcox, supported by Perry, to move forward to the support of Pickett's right. These were only in time to meet the retreating fragments of Pickett's right and the fierce Federal fire that followed them. Anderson's division, of Hill's corps, stood ready to advance on Pettigrew's left, thus extending Pickett's line in that direction; McLaws was also ready to move on Wilcox's right, but Longstreet gave no orders. Had these steady veterans become the right and the left arms of Pickett's famous charge, Lee would, in all human probability, have not only held what Pickett won, but would have routed Meade's right and left from his widely broken center.

Lee, with the calmness of a trained soldier, sat his horse, on Seminary ridge, amid Alexander's batteries, and watched the charge and repulse of his heroic veterans. Colonel Fremantle, of the British army, writing from the standpoint of an eye-witness, says: ‘General Lee was perfectly sublime. He was engaged in rallying and encouraging the broken troops and was riding about a little in front of the wood, quite alone, . . . his face, [419] which is always placid and cheerful, did not show any signs of the slightest disappointment, care, or annoyance, and he was addressing to every soldier he met a few words of encouragement; such as, “All this will come right in the end; we will talk it over afterward; but in the meantime all good men must rally.” . . . He spoke to all the men that passed him, and the slightly wounded he exhorted to bind up their hurts and take a musket in this emergency. Very few failed to answer his appeal, and I saw badly wounded men take off their hats and cheer him.’ To General Wilcox, who, in tones of sad. ness, mingled with vexation, told him of the condition of his brigade, Fremantle says, ‘Lee replied: “Never mind, General; all this has been my fault. It is I that have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it the best way you can.” ’ These things moved this onlooking English colonel to conclude: ‘It was impossible to look at him or to listen to him without feeling the strongest admiration.’

A Federal cavalry charge on the Confederate right, during the afternoon, was repulsed with loss to the attacking troopers. On the left, Stuart repeatedly charged Gregg's cavalry, in attempts to gain the Baltimore turnpike, but without success.

With his repulsed troops rallied along the lines from which they had advanced to the fierce battle, and with his artillery replenished with ammunition, Lee awaited, on Seminary ridge, a counterstroke from Meade; but the Federal commander was in no condition for such an effort, and was more than satisfied that he had been able to hold his strong lines against Lee's furious assaults. The slaughter in both armies had been great, and each was satisfied to face the other in silent defiance and await developments. Of Meade's 95,000 in the field of action, 23,000 had fallen; of Lee's 58,000, including his cavalry that had participated in the fight, over 20,000 lay dead or wounded, or were missing. Some of the latter were stragglers who afterward returned. Among the dead leaders of the Confederates were Generals Armistead, Garnett, Pender, Barksdale and Semmes; Archer was left a prisoner, and Kemper, Pettigrew, Hood, Trimble, Heth, Scales, G. T. Anderson, Jenkins and Hampton were severely wounded.

In his official report, Lee writes of this day: ‘The [420] severe loss sustained by the army, and the reduction of its ammunition, rendered another attempt to dislodge the enemy unadvisable, and it was therefore determined to withdraw.’ But he was in no haste to do this in such a way as to suffer damage to his command or to his trains. He spent the whole of July 4th awaiting Meade's pleasure for an attack, which the latter, in the wisdom he had learned during three days of contention, did not make. After caring for his wounded and burying all his dead within reach, Lee started his trains for the Potomac, by the great highway leading southwest from Gettysburg, through Fairfield, across the South mountain by Monterey Springs, and through Hagerstown to Williamsport. These he followed with his army during the night of the 4th, leaving Ewell, as a rear guard, in front of Gettysburg until the forenoon of the 5th; and by thus holding on he forced Meade to follow in pursuit by circuitous routes to passes of the Blue ridge (South mountain), farther to the southwest. The disciplined courage of Lee's army was unbroken, and his veterans were as ready as ever to accept any offered battle. They knew, as well as did their leaders, why failures had come at Gettysburg. The Federals had all possible tactic advantages. They had strength of position, superiority of numbers, and abundant supplies of ammunition. The Confederates mourned the losses they had sustained, but were cheered with the reflection that they retired from the famous battlefield of Gettysburg with their previous honors well sustained.

As usual, after great battles during the Confederate war, heavy rains followed that of Gettysburg, swelling all the tributaries of the Potomac, making that stream impassable at the Williamsport ford, and endangering Lee's pontoon bridge at Falling Waters. Imboden, withdrawing from the Cumberland valley, covered with intrenchments Lee's trains concentrated at Williamsport, manned his works with several batteries of artillery, and stood ready to repulse any cavalry attacks that might be made upon him.

As he fell back, Lee sent forward his engineers to select a new line of battle covering the approaches to Williamsport and Falling Waters. An admirable position was found near Hagerstown, which met with General Lee's approbation, when he arrived on the 6th and rode over [421] it. He at once ordered his army into this chosen position, and his men began to throw up rude intrenchments and look with grim satisfaction at the topographic difficulties in the way, should Meade venture offensive battle. The Federal cavalry made some attacks on Lee's trains as they were passing through the eastern defiles of the South mountain, but these were quickly repulsed by the train guards, and Stuart held the large body of Federal cavalry in check by his tireless covering of the rear and flanks of Lee's retiring movement.

Meade, with 47,000 effectives, about the half of his original army, gave Lee a wide berth and cautiously marched due south to Frederick and Middletown, thus placing himself on the National road between Lee and Washington and Baltimore. To his army 11,000 veterans were added, also large numbers of militia that had responded to Lincoln's call when Lee invaded Pennsylvania. Yielding to urgent orders, from Washington, that he should at once destroy Lee's army, which was vainly supposed to be shattered and in full retreat, Meade took the highway that McClellan had taken the previous September, crossed the South mountain at Boonsboro, on the 11th of July, and after having carefully bridged the Antietam, appeared, on the 12th, in front of Lee's now well protected defensive position, and took up a line which he at once proceeded to fortify. This done, he called a council of war and found that his subordinates were unwilling to attack Lee's lines, well knowing that such an attempt could result only in defeat and disaster.

On the appearance of Meade's advance, on the 11th, Lee issued a stirring address to his soldiers, in which, among other things, he said:

After long and trying marches, endured with the fortitude that has ever characterized the soldiers of the army of Northern Virginia, you have penetrated the country of our enemies, and recalled to the defense of their own soil those who were engaged in the invasion of ours. You have fought a fierce and sanguinary battle, which, if not attended with the success that has hitherto crowned your efforts, was marked by the same heroic spirit that has commanded the respect of your enemies, the gratitude of your country and the admiration of mankind. Once more you are called upon to meet the army from which you have won on so many fields a name that will never die. . . . Let every soldier remember that on his courage and fidelity depends all that makes life worth having—the freedom of his country, the honor of his people, and the security of his home.

By the 13th the Potomac had fallen to within its banks, [422] and during that night the Second corps forded it at Williamsport, while the First and Third began crossing the pontoon at Falling Waters, a few miles lower down the river. Stuart so engaged the attention of Meade that the latter was not aware of Lee's crossing until it was well-nigh done. The Federal cavalry pressed against Hill's rearguard, composed of Heth's division, but to be repulsed with loss. The most serious damage to the Confederates was the death of the heroic Pettigrew in the rear-guard skirmish. By noonday of the 14th the three army corps were again in Virginia, and the Federal army was left in amazement at the skill with which Lee had withdrawn from their front and crossed a great river, practically without loss. It was evident that there was no fight left in the Federal army, and Meade was quite content to remain north of the Potomac and carefully watch between Lee and Washington.

Before recrossing the Potomac, and while awaiting an attack from Meade, Lee wrote again, urging President Davis to gather an army, under Beauregard, and threaten Washington, as he had persistently asked should be done before and during his invasion of Pennsylvania. He asserted that he was not discouraged, had not lost faith in Providence or in his army, the fortitude of which had not been shaken, and that the Federal army, though it had been much shattered, could easily be reinforced, while he could expect no addition to his numbers; hence the necessity for an immediate demonstration toward Washington. [423]

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