previous next

[123] 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 ’


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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Westminster (Maryland, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Meade (2)
Fitz Lee (2)
Sedgwick (1)
Howard (1)
Halleck (1)
Doubleday (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.
2nd (2)
1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: