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Williamsport (Maryland, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
cently appeared before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. The evidence of General Butterfield, Chief of Staff to General Meade, is known to be so ruinous to the reputation of the Commander of the Army of the Potomac that it will be a singular indifference to public opinion on the part of the government if he is allowed to remain longer in that important post. It has been most conclusively proved that nothing was easier than to force Lee's whole army to an unconditional surrender at Williamsport, where he was without ammunition or subsistence, and the swollen Potomac preventing his escape. It was stated that our army was so humiliated at the vacillation and timidity of General Meade on this occasion that many of them shed tears and talked of throwing down their arms. Yet General Meade still commands this noble army, and not only that, but he has lately ventured to break up, under shallow pretexts two of its finest corps, and dismiss some of its most heroic officers, Pleasanton,
David B. Birney (search for this): chapter 22
t charge I felt myself obliged to make in my first letter. I narrated that Barnes' Division suddenly fell back and left a gap in the line of battle, and that General Birney by desire of General Sickles remonstrated at his conduct, but that Barnes refused to return to his position. I further declared that Zook's Brigade, which cahis remonstrance they finally withdrew altogether without being engaged. This confirms what I alleged; but I have positive testimony in a private letter from General Birney, which he will not object I am sure, to my using. When he saw Barnes withdrawing his troops before they had received a shot, he remonstrated at Barnes' leaving a dangerous gap in his line, as well as abandoning the good position. It was of no avail, for Barnes retired. I copied the following from General Birney's letter:— He (Barnes) moved to the rear from three to four hundred yards, and formed in the rear of the road which passed from the Emmettsburg Road to the Round Top. When
I narrated that Barnes' Division suddenly fell back and left a gap in the line of battle, and that General Birney by desire of General Sickles remonstrated at his conduct, but that Barnes refused to return to his position. I further declared that Zook's Brigade, which came up gallantly to supply the defection of Barnes, marched over his troops, who were ordered to lie down for this purpose. As General Barnes denies all this roundly, under his own signature, it is proper I should give the nameso avail, for Barnes retired. I copied the following from General Birney's letter:— He (Barnes) moved to the rear from three to four hundred yards, and formed in the rear of the road which passed from the Emmettsburg Road to the Round Top. When Zook's Brigade, the first one brought to me, came up, Barnes' troops (being in the way) were, at my request, ordered to lie down, and the Brigade from the Second corps passed over their prostrate bodies into the fight, under my command, relieving de Tr
Dan Butterfield (search for this): chapter 22
eaties to the Commander-in-Chief, General Meade. I stated, likewise, that during this fearful interval, instead of being occupied with the steady advance of the enemy, General Meade was entirely engrossed with the plans for a retreat that General Butterfield, his Chief of Staff, was employed in drawing up, and that just at the moment the general order for retreat was prepared, the cannon of Longstreet opened on our left wing, under Sickles. I stated, further, that, as retreat was now hopelessay that my narrative of the battle of Gettysburg, published on the 12th ult. will be fully sustained by the concurrent testimony of all the generals who have recently appeared before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. The evidence of General Butterfield, Chief of Staff to General Meade, is known to be so ruinous to the reputation of the Commander of the Army of the Potomac that it will be a singular indifference to public opinion on the part of the government if he is allowed to remain lo
De Trobriand (search for this): chapter 22
avail, for Barnes retired. I copied the following from General Birney's letter:— He (Barnes) moved to the rear from three to four hundred yards, and formed in the rear of the road which passed from the Emmettsburg Road to the Round Top. When Zook's Brigade, the first one brought to me, came up, Barnes' troops (being in the way) were, at my request, ordered to lie down, and the Brigade from the Second corps passed over their prostrate bodies into the fight, under my command, relieving de Trobriand's left. A portion of the troops of Barnes were afterwards detached and fought splendidly under another commander. I mentioned the conduct of General Barnes to his corps commander General Sykes, and also to General Sedgwick, that night, after the Council; and Sykes told me that Colonel Sweitzer who commanded one of Barnes' Brigades, had reported the same thing. This extract must be regarded as conclusive. In final confirmation, I may add that General Barnes was relieved of his comman
J. B. Sweitzer (search for this): chapter 22
e up, Barnes' troops (being in the way) were, at my request, ordered to lie down, and the Brigade from the Second corps passed over their prostrate bodies into the fight, under my command, relieving de Trobriand's left. A portion of the troops of Barnes were afterwards detached and fought splendidly under another commander. I mentioned the conduct of General Barnes to his corps commander General Sykes, and also to General Sedgwick, that night, after the Council; and Sykes told me that Colonel Sweitzer who commanded one of Barnes' Brigades, had reported the same thing. This extract must be regarded as conclusive. In final confirmation, I may add that General Barnes was relieved of his command after the battle and now has been reduced from the commander of a division to a brigade. I regret to place General Barnes in so mortifying a position, but it is well that both officers and soldiers should know that the eye of the country follows them to the battlefield, and that while it spa
Ulysses S. Grant (search for this): chapter 22
r than to force Lee's whole army to an unconditional surrender at Williamsport, where he was without ammunition or subsistence, and the swollen Potomac preventing his escape. It was stated that our army was so humiliated at the vacillation and timidity of General Meade on this occasion that many of them shed tears and talked of throwing down their arms. Yet General Meade still commands this noble army, and not only that, but he has lately ventured to break up, under shallow pretexts two of its finest corps, and dismiss some of its most heroic officers, Pleasanton, Sykes and others. It will be an important inquiry for the Committee on the Conduct of the War to ascertain by whose influence General Meade exercises such arbitrary power. This vital and dangerous act was carried out without any consultation with General Grant and may we not hope, that for his own sake and the country's sake he will wield the authority which belongs to him, else the worst is to be feared. Historicus.
James Longstreet (search for this): chapter 22
taff, was employed in drawing up, and that just at the moment the general order for retreat was prepared, the cannon of Longstreet opened on our left wing, under Sickles. I stated, further, that, as retreat was now hopeless, General Meade galloped uleft wing at the beginning of the battle, withstood heroically, to use General Meade's expression, the furious onset of Longstreet for nearly an hour before the reinforcements promised to Sickles, by the Commander-in-Chief arrived and took their part his front to the left by wheeling forward the centre and right wing of his corps so as to confront the flank attack of Longstreet. No military critic would call this an advance. If he had not done this he would have been cut to pieces by an enfilae assailants to deny that the invincible resistance of the Third corps under Sickles, to the determined flank attack of Longstreet, until the reinforcements arrived, saved the army from imminent danger; and no better proof of this is wanted than that
Stephen M. Weed (search for this): chapter 22
rps was posted on the Little Roundtop, adjoining the Big Roundtop Mountain). This is a mere quibble and unworthy of the gravity of the subject. I reassert that it was nearly an hour after the battle began before the Fifth corps reached the Big Roundtop; and it required all this time to march the distance. The desperate valor of the troops of this corps in defence of their position not only covers them with honor but sheds glory on the army and country. Three accomplished officers—Vincent, Weed and Hazlett, of the Fifth corps—consecrated the spot by their heroic deaths. With a view to mislead the public the Staff Officer coolly asserts that Barnes' division of the Fifth corps, was posted in front of a portion of Sickles' corps, but, forgetting this, he soon afterward states that the left of Third corps (Sickles') was far in advance of the Roundtop, occupied by the Fifth corps. This is a ludicrous contradiction I will not dwell on; nor is it necessary to waste time on the blunders
Alfred Pleasanton (search for this): chapter 22
er than to force Lee's whole army to an unconditional surrender at Williamsport, where he was without ammunition or subsistence, and the swollen Potomac preventing his escape. It was stated that our army was so humiliated at the vacillation and timidity of General Meade on this occasion that many of them shed tears and talked of throwing down their arms. Yet General Meade still commands this noble army, and not only that, but he has lately ventured to break up, under shallow pretexts two of its finest corps, and dismiss some of its most heroic officers, Pleasanton, Sykes and others. It will be an important inquiry for the Committee on the Conduct of the War to ascertain by whose influence General Meade exercises such arbitrary power. This vital and dangerous act was carried out without any consultation with General Grant and may we not hope, that for his own sake and the country's sake he will wield the authority which belongs to him, else the worst is to be feared. Historicus.
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