an attack himself. He was satisfied his army was sufficiently united to give battle. At 6 P. M., on the evening of the 1st, he dispatched a joint message to Howard and Doubleday, in which he said: ‘It seems we have so concentrated, that a battle is now forced on us, and that if we get up all our people, and attack with our whole force tomorrow, we ought to defeat the force the enemy has.’ A memorandum addressed to Sedgwick at 10 P. M., says: ‘The general purposes to make a vigorous attack upon the enemy tomorrow, and on the morning of the 2d, a note was addressed by the Chief of Staff to the commander of the twelfth corps, directing him to make an attack from the front and that he would be supported by the fifth corps, and that the attack should be a strong and decisive one.’ These instructions must have been recalled. General Meade's intentions to attack never materialized, and no mention is made of them in his official report. It has been stated, that General Meade upon his arrival on the field, was not favorably impressed with the position, and that an order to withdraw was prepared. It is even said that so late as 3 P. M., on the 2d, he sent a dispatch in cypher to Halleck, that if the enemy failed to attack, and he found it hazardous himself to do so, or became satisfied that the enemy was manoeuvering to get in his rear, he should fall back to Westminster. The official records as published do not disclose such papers, if they exist. Lee now had his army fairly united, one division only besides the cavalry being absent, and he too, proposed an early morning attack, which was doomed to disappointment. The failure to execute it as planned, has given rise to much discussion. General Lee's report, which is the only authoritative expression we have from him on the subject, says: ‘It had not been intended to deliver a general battle, so far from our base, 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 unfavorable for collecting supplies in the presence of the enemy, who would restrain our foraging parties, by holding the mountain passes ’
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Stuart 's cavalry in the Gettysburg campaign .
Black Eagle Company .
Mr. Slingluffs letter.
Story of battle of five Forks.
War time story of Dahlgren 's raid.
An incident of the battle of Winchester , or Opequon .
Marylanders in the Confederate army .
Jefferson Davis .
The Color Episode of the one hundred and Forty-Ninth regiment , Pennsylvania Volunteers .
Affidavit of Supervisors of Co. C , 149th regiment . Pa. Vols.
Munford 's Marylanders never surrendered to foe. From Richmond, Va. , Times-dispatch, February 6 , 1910 .
Further Recollections of second Cold Harbor .
Suffering in Fredericksburg .
Treachery of W. H. Seward brought fire on Sumter .
Forrest 's men rank with Bravest of brave.
Heth intended to cover his error.
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