The following is an authentic copy of Gen. Robert E. Lee
's official report of the "Pennsylvania
--I have the honor to submit the following outline of the recent operations of this army for the information of the Department:
The position occupied by the enemy opposite Fredericksburg
being one in which he could not be attacked to advantage, it was determined to draw him from it. The execution of this purpose embraced the relief of the Shenandoah Valley from the troops that had occupied the lower part of it during the winter
, and, it practicable, the transfer of the scene of hostilities north of the Potomac
It was thought that the corresponding movements on the part of the enemy to which those
contemplated by us would probably give rise, might offer a fair opportunity to strike a blow at the army therein commanded by Gen. Hooker
, and that in any event that army would be compelled to leave Virginia
, and possibly to draw to its support troops designed to operate against other parts of the country.
In this way it was supposed that the enemy's plan of campaign for the summer would be broken up, and part of the season of active operations be consumed in the formation of new combinations and the preparations that they would require.
In addition to these advantages it was hoped that other valuable results might be attained by military success.
Actuated by these and other important considerations that may hereafter be presented, the movement began on the 3d June. McLaws
's division, of Longstreet
's corps, left Fredericksburg
for Culpeper C. H., and Hood
's division, which was encamped on the Rapidan
, marched to the same place.
They were followed on the 4th and 5th by Ewell
's corps, leaving that of A. P. Hill
to occupy our lines at Fredericksburg
The march of these troops having been discovered by the enemy on the afternoon of the 5th, and the following day he crossed a force, amounting to about one army corps, to the south side of the Rappahannock
on a pontoon bridge laid down near the mouth of Deep Run
. Gen. Hill
disposed his command to resist their advance; but as they seemed intended for the purpose of observation rather than attack, the movements in progress were not arrested.
The forces of Longstreet
reached Culpeper Court House by the 8th, at which point the cavalry under Gen Stuart
was also concentrated.
On the 9th a large force of Federal cavalry strongly supported by infantry, crossed the Rappahannock
at Beverly's and Kelly's fords
, and attacked Gen. Stuart
A severe engagement ensued, continuing from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, when the enemy was forced to recross the river with heavy loss, leaving 400 prisoners, three pieces of artillery and several colors in our hands.
, with his cavalry brigade, had been ordered to advance towards Winchester
to co-operate with the infantry in the proposed expedition into the Lower Valley
, and at the same time Gen. Imboden
was directed, with his command, to make a demonstration in the direction of Romney
, in order to cover the movement against Winchester
and prevent the enemy at that place from being reinforced by the troops on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Both of these officers were in position when Gen. Ewell
left Culpeper Court-House on the 16th.
Crossing the Shenandoah
near Front Royal
, he detached Rodes
's division to Berryville
, with instructions after dislodging the force there to cut off the communication between Winchester
and the Potomac
With the divisions of Early
, Gen. Ewell
advanced directly upon Winchester
, driving the enemy into his works around the town on the 13th.
On the same day the troops at Berryville
, left back before Gen. Rodes
, retreating to Winchester
On the 14th Gen. Early
stormed the works at the latter place, and the whole army of Gen. Milroy
was captured or dispersed.
Most of those who attempted to escape were intercepted and made prisoners by Gen. Johnson
Their leader fled to Harper's Ferry
with a small party of fugitives.
marched from Berryville
, entering the latter place on the 14th, where he took seven hundred prisoners, five pieces of artillery, and a considerable quantity of stores.
These operations cleared the valley of the enemy, those at Harper's Ferry
withdrawing to Maryland Heights
More than four thousand prisoners, twenty-nine pieces of artillery, two hundred and seventy wagons and ambulances, with four hundred horses, were captured, besides a large amount of military stores.
Our loss was small.
On the night that Ewell
appeared at Winchester
, the Federal
troops in front of A. P. Hill
, at Fredericksburg
, recrossed the Rappahannock
and the next day disappeared behind the hills of Stafford
The whole army of General Hooker
withdrew from the line of the Rappahannock
, pursuing the roads near the Potomac
, and no favorable opportunity was offered for attack.
It seemed to be the purpose of General Hooker
to take a position which would enable him to cover the approaches to Washington city
--with a view to draw him further from his base, and at the same time to cover the march of A. P. Hill
, who, in accordance with instructions, left Fredericksburg
for the Valley
as soon as the enemy withdrew from his front.
moved from Culpeper Court-House on the 15th, and advancing along the east side of the Blue Ridge
, occupied Ashby's and Snicker's Gaps.
His force had been augmented while at Culpeper
by General Pickett
with three brigades of his division.
The cavalry, under General Stuart
, was thrown out in front of Longstreet
to watch the enemy now reported to be moving into London
On the 17th, his cavalry encountered two brigades of ours under General Stuart
, and was driven back with loss.
The next day the engagement was renewed, the Federal
cavalry being strongly supported by infantry, and General Stuart
was in turn compelled to retire.
The enemy advanced as far as Upperville
and then fell back.
In these engagements Gen. Stuart
took about four hundred prisoners, and a considerable number of horses and arms.
In the meantime a part of Gen. Ewell
's corps had entered Maryland
, and the rest was about to follow.
with his cavalry, who accompanied Gen. Ewell
, penetrated Pennsylvania
as far as Chambersburg
As these demonstrations did not have the effect of causing the Federal
army to leave Virginia
, and as it did not seem disposed to advance upon the position held by Longstreet
, the latter was withdrawn to the west side of the Shenandoah
, Gen. Hill
having already reached the valley.
was left to guard the passes of the mountains, and observe the movements of the enemy, whom he was instructed to harass and impede as much as possible should he attempt to cross the Potomac
In that event, Gen Stuart
was directed to move into Maryland
, crossing the Potomac
east or west of the Blue Ridge
, as in his judgment should be best, and take position on the right of our column as it advanced.
By the 24th the progress of Ewell
rendered it necessary that the rest of the army should be in supporting distance, and Longstreet
marched to the Potomac
The former crossed at Williamsport
and the latter at Shepherdstown
The columns reunited at Hagerstown
, and advanced thence into Pennsylvania
, encamping near Chambersburg
on the 27th.
No report had been received that the Federal
army had crossed the Potomac
, and the absence of the cavalry rendered it impossible to obtain accurate information.
In order, however, to retain it on the east side of the mountains after it should enter Maryland
, and thus leave open our communication with the Potomac
, General Ewell
had been instructed to send a division eastwards from Chambersburg
to cross the South Mountains
's division was detached for this purpose, and proceeded as far east as York
, while the remainder of the corps proc to Carlisle
, in pursuance of the instructions previously referred to, had been actively engaged on the left of Gen. Ewell
during the progress of the latter into Maryland
He had driven off the forces guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, destroying all the important bridges on that route from Cumberland
, and seriously damaged the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
He subsequently took position at Hancock
, and, after the arrival of Longstreet
, was directed to march by way of McCounsellsburg to that place.
Preparations were now made to advance upon Harrisburg
; but on the night of the 29th information was received from a scout that the Federal
army, having crossed the Potomac
, was advancing northwards, and that the head of the column had reached the South Mountain
As our communications were thus menaced, it was resolved to prevent his further progress in that direction by concentrating our army on the east side of the mountains.
were directed to proceed from Chambersburg
, to which point Gen. Ewell
was also instructed to march from Carlisle
continued to follow the movements of the Federal
army south of the Potomac
after our own had Maryland
, and in his efforts to impede its progress advanced as far eastward as Fairfax Court-House.
Finding himself unable to delay the enemy materially, he crossed the river at Seneca
, and marched through Westminster
, where he arrived after Gen. Ewell
had left for Gettysburg
By the route he pursued the Federal
army was interposed between his command and our main body, preventing any communication with him until his arrival at Carlisle
The march towards Gettysburg
was conducted more slowly than it would have been had the movements of the Federal
army been known.
The leading division of Hill
met the enemy in advance of Gettysburg
, on the morning of the 1st of July. Driving back these troops to within a short distance of the town, he there encountered a larger force; with which two of his divisions became engaged.
, coming up with two of his divisions by the Heidlersburg
road, joined in the engagement.
The enemy was driven through Gettysburg
, with heavy loss, including about five thousand prisoners and several pieces of artillery.
He retired to a high range of hills south and east of the town.
The attack was not pressed that afternoon, the enemy's force being unknown, and it being considered advisable to await the arrival of the rest of our troops.
Orders were sent back to hasten their march, and, in the meantime, every effort was made to ascertain the numbers and position of the enemy, and find the most favorable point of attack.
It had not been intended to fight a general battle at such a distance from our base, unless attacked by the enemy; but finding ourselves unexpectedly confronted by the Federal
army, it became a matter of difficulty to withdraw through the mountains with our large trains.
At the same time the country was unfavorable for collecting supplies while in the presence of the enemy's main body, as he was enabled to restrain our foraging parties by occupying the passes of the mountains with regular and local troops.
A battle thus became, in a measure, unavoidable.
Encouraged by the successful issue of the engagement of the first day, and in view of the valuable results that would ensue from the defeat of the army of Gen. Meade
, it was thought advisable to renew the attack.
The remainder of Ewell
's and Hill
's corps having arrived, and two divisions of Longstreet
's, our preparations were made accordingly.
During the afternoon intelligence was received of the arrival of Gen. Stuart
, and he was ordered to march to Gettysburg
, and take position on the left.--A full account of these engagements cannot be given until the reports of the several commanding officers shall have been received, and I shall only offer a general description
The preparations for attack were not completed until the afternoon of the 2d.
The enemy held a high and commanding ridge along which he had massed a large amount of artillery.
occupied the left of our line, General Hill
the centre, and Gen. Longstreet
In front of Gen. Longstreet
In front of Gen. Longstreet
the enemy held a position, from which if he could be driven it was thought that our army could be used to advantage in assailing the more elevated ground beyond, and thus enable us to reach the crest of the ridge.
That officer was directed to endeavor to carry this position, while Gen. Ewell
attacked directly the high ground on the enemy's right, which had already been partially fortified.
was instructed to threaten the centre of the Federal
line, in order to prevent reinforcements being sent to either wing, and to avail himself of any opportunity that might present itself to attack.
After a severe struggle, Longstreet
succeeded in getting possession of and holding the desired ground.
also carried some of the strong positions which he assailed, and the result was such as to lead to the belief that he would ultimately be able to dislodge the enemy.
The battle ceased at dark.
These partial successes determined me to continue the assault next day. Pickett
, with three of his brigades, joined Longstreet
the following morning, and our batteries were moved forward to the position gained by him the day before.
The general plan of attack was unchanged, except that one division and two brigades of Hill
's corps were ordered to support Longstreet
The enemy in the meantime had strengthened his line with earthworks.
The morning was occupied in necessary preparations, and the battle recommence in the afternoon of the 3d, and raged with great violence until sunset.
Our troops succeeded in entering the advanced works of the enemy, and getting possession of some of his batteries, but our artillery having nearly expended its ammunition the attacking columns became exposed to the heavy fire of the numerous batteries near the summit of the ridge, and after a most determined and gallant struggle were compelled to relinquish their advantage and fall back to their original positions with severe loss.
The conduct of the troops was all that I could desire or expect, and they deserved success so far as it can be deserved by heroic valor and fortitude.
More may have been required of them than they were able to perform, but my admiration of their noble qualities, and confidence in their ability to cope successfully with the enemy, has suffered no abatement from the issue of this protracted and sanguinary conflict.
Owing to the strength of the enemy's position and the reduction of our ammunition, a renewal of the engagement could not be hazarded, and the difficulty of procuring supplies rendered it impossible to continue longer where we were.
Such of the wounded as were in condition to be removed, and part of the arms collected on the field, were ordered to Williamsport
The army remained at Gettysburg
during the 4th, and at night began to retire by the road to Fairfield
, carrying with it about four thousand prisoners. Nearly two thousand had previously been paroled, but the enemy's numerous wounded that had fallen into our hands after the first and second days' engagements were left behind.
Little progress was made that night, owing to a severe storm, which greatly embarrassed our movements.
The rear of the column did not leave its position near Gettysburg
until after daylight on the 5th.
The march was continued during that day without interruption by the enemy, except an unimportant demonstration upon our rear in the afternoon, when near Fairfield
, which was easily checked.
Part of our train moved by the road through Fairfield
, and the rest by the way of Cashtown
, guarded by General Imboden
In passing through the mountains, in advance of the column, the great length of the trains exposed them to attack by the enemy's cavalry, which captured a number of wagons and ambulances; but they succeeded in reaching Williamsport
without serious loss.
They were attacked at that place on the 6th by the enemy's cavalry, which was gallantly repulsed by General Imboden
The attacking force was subsequently encountered and driven off by General Stuart
and pursued for several miles in the direction of Boonsboro
'. The army after an arduous march, rendered more difficult by the rains, reached Hagerstown
on the afternoon of the 6th and morning of the 7th July.
was found to be so much swollen by the rains, that had fallen almost incessantly since our entrance into Maryland
, as to be unfordable.
Our communications with the south side were thus interrupted, and it was difficult to procure either ammunition or subsistence, the latter difficulty being enhanced by the high waters impeding the working of neighboring mills. --The trains with the wounded and prisoners were compelled to await at Williamsport
the subsiding of the river and the construction of boats, as the pontoon bridge left at Falling Waters
had been partially destroyed.--The enemy had not yet made his appearance; but, as he was in condition to obtain large reinforcements, and our situation, for the reasons above mentioned, was becoming daily more embarrassing, it was deemed advisable to recross the river.
Part of the pontoon bridge was recovered, and new boats built, so that by the 13th a good bridge was thrown over the river at Falling Waters
The enemy in force reached our front on the 12th.
A position had been previously selected to cover the Potomac
to Falling Waters
, and an attack was awaited during that and the succeeding day. This did not take place, though the two armies were in close proximity, the enemy being occupied in fortifying his own lines.--Our preparations being completed, and the river, though still deep, being pronounced fordable, the army commenced to withdraw to the South
side on the night of the 13th.
's corps forded the river at Williamsport
, those of Longstreet
crossed upon the bridge.
Owing to the condition of the roads the troops did not reach the bridge until after daylight on the 14th, and the crossing was not completed until 1 P. M., when the bridge was removed.
The enemy offered no serious interruption, and the movement was attended with no loss of material except a few disabled wagons, and two pieces of artillery, which the horses were unable to move through the deep mud. Before fresh horses could be sent back for them the rear of the column had passed.
During the slow and tedious march to the bridge, in the midst of a violent storm of rain, some of the men lay down by the way to rest.
Officers sent back for them failed to find many in the obscurity of the night, and these, with some stragglers, fell into the hands of the enemy.
Brig. Gen. Pettigrew
was mortally wounded in an attack made by a small body of cavalry, which was unfortunately mistaken for our own and permitted to enter our lines.
He was brought to Bunker Hill
, where he expired a few days afterwards.
He was a brave and accomplished officer and gentleman, and his loss will be deeply felt by the country and the army.
The following day the army marched to Bunker Hill
, in the vicinity of which it encamped for several days.
The day after its arrival, a large force of the enemy's cavalry, which had crossed the Potomac
at Harper's Ferry
, advanced towards Martinsburg
It was attacked by Gen. Fitz Lee
, near Kearneysville
, and defeated with heavy loss, leaving its dead and many of its wounded on the field.
Owing to the swollen condition of the Shenandoah river
, the plan of operations which had been contemplated when we recrossed the Potomac
could not be put in execution, and before the waters had subsided the movements of the enemy induced me to cross the Blue Ridge
and take position south of the Rappahannock
, which was accordingly done.
As soon as the reports of the commanding officers
shall be received, a more detailed account of these operations will be given, and occasion will then be taken to speak more particularly of the conspicuous gallantry and good conduct of both officers and men.
It is not yet in my power to give a correct statement of our casualties, which were severe, including many brave men, and an unusual proportion of distinguished and valuable officers.
Among them, I regret to mention the following general officers
: Major-Generals Hoort
, and Trimble
severely, and Major General Heth
has since died.
This lamented officer has borne a distinguished part in every engagement of this army, and was wounded on several occasions while leading his command with conspicuous gallantry and ability.
The confidence and admiration inspired by his courage and capacity as an officer were only equalled by the esteem and respect entertained by all with whom he was associated, for the noble qualities of his modest and unassuming character.
Brig. Gens. Barksdale
were killed, and Brig. Gen. Semmes
mortally wounded while leading their troops with the courage that always distinguished them.
These brave officers and patriotic gentlemen fell in the faithful discharge of duty, leaving the army to mourn their loss and emulate their noble examples.
Brig. Gens. Kemper
, G. T. Anderson
, J. M. Jones
, and Jenkins
, were also wounded.
Brig. Gen. Archer
was taken prisoner.
, though wounded at Gettysburg
, continued in command until he was mortally wounded near Falling Waters
The loss of the enemy is unknown, but from observation on the field, and his subsequent movements, it is supposed that he suffered severely.