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September 24th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
nces I have referred the question to Washington. To-day John Minor Botts, who lives in this vicinity, came to see me and told me Beckham had been at his house a few days ago (before we advanced), and spoke in the most enthusiastic terms of me; so that Beckham is not changed. A Mr. Pendleton also, who was in Congress and knew your father, called, and spoke of Mr. Joseph R. Ingersoll, who had been at his house. Both these gentlemen are Union men. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 24, 1863. The last time I wrote I told you of my having referred to Washington the question of a further advance. As I expected, no decisive answer was sent to me, but I was told to act in accordance with my own judgment. The next thing I was summoned to Washington and informed that the President considered my army too large for a merely defensive one, and proposed to take a portion of it away. I objected and reasoned against this, and left Washington with the belief that the President w
September 27th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
id he had no doubt I would be rejoiced to be relieved, but there was no such good luck for me. I cannot very well tell you all that transpired; the intelligence, by no means favorable, had been received from Rosecrans, and it was evident, without any one knowing what exactly might or could be done, that there still existed a feverish anxiety that I should try and do something. Now that I have been weakened, I presume the country will not be so exigeante. Culpeper Court House, Va., September 27, 1863. We are having lovely weather at present; our camps are beautifully situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge, with the mountains in view, with pure air and plenty of good water; the best country in Virginia we have yet been in. I had a visit yesterday from the Rev. Mr. Coles, Episcopal minister at the village, who told me he had seen Mr. Wilmer some few weeks since, and he had talked a great deal of me, and told him I had been his parishioner. He says Mr. Wilmer is not connected
September 30th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
army, and has no church, but occupies himself in works of charity, and when he saw him he was on his way to visit the sick and wounded of the Confederate army, after its return from Pennsylvania. I have tried, but unsuccessfully, to get some news of the Wises. General Henry A. Wise and son, brother-in-law and nephew of Mrs. Meade. Mr. Wise's command undoubtedly went with Longstreet to Tennessee, but whether he went I am not able to ascertain. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 30, 1863. I am sorry to see you so anxious about me, because it is impossible to keep you constantly advised of what is going on, and your imagination undoubtedly makes matters worse. You must try and be resigned, and not anticipate evil, but wait for its actual arrival. My position is of course liable to misconstruction so long as the public are ignorant of the truth, but the time will come when they will be enlightened, and then I shall be all right. Of course, if people believe that L
October 4th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
intelligent gentleman, over seventy years of age, who had crossed the Atlantic fourteen times. He seemed greatly interested with everything we showed him. To-day Gouverneur Paulding and a Dr. Young, of Cold Spring, New York, have been here to present General Warren with a sword. Paulding I have known from a boy, and Dr. Young married a daughter of old Parson Hawley, of Washington. They also have been delighted with their visit. Headquarters army of the Potomac, Culpeper C. H., October 4, 1863. I have been very busy writing my report of the battle of Gettysburg, which has been delayed till this time by the want of the reports of my subordinate commanders, many of whom were absent, wounded. I have at last got through with it, and feel greatly relieved, although I have made it as short and simple as possible. Official Records, serial No. 43, p. 114. I can hardly believe my letters are opened, as you suspect. I can see no object to be gained, and the crime is so hei
October 7th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
ederate Commissioner whether Lieutenant Parker had reached Richmond. He answered he would do so, and send any intelligence to his father at Boston. I presume, however, he would let me know also if he heard anything. The only member of my staff, besides Humphreys, who messes with me, is Colonel Lyman. As he is an unpaid volunteer, and came to me on personal considerations, I took him into my mess. To John Sergeant Meade: Son of General Meade. Headquarters army of the Potomac, October 7, 1863. I have read the article in Blackwood, which is tolerably fair for a secesh Englishman. The general officer referred to as being cheered was your humble servant, and I was at that time riding down the line to the left, for the purpose of ordering an attack; but it was so late and the distance to the enemy's line so great, that by the time the troops were in motion the day was at an end. Lee's report has just been published. Considering all things, it is pretty fair, in some pla
October 12th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
t has just been published. Considering all things, it is pretty fair, in some places a little too much of what the lawyers call the suppressio veri. Still, I am willing to leave to history the fact, which he plainly admits, that after the battle of Gettysburg he had to retreat continuously till he reached the south bank of the Rappahannock, from whence he had started to destroy my army and accomplish other valuable results. To Mrs. George G. Meade: Headquarters army of the Potomac, October 12, 1863. On Saturday I found Lee was turning my right flank and assuming an offensive position. As to have remained where I was would have endangered my communications, I yesterday fell back to the Rappahannock. As I do not hear to-day anything of his movement on my right being continued, I have sent a force back towards Culpeper, to see whether he will give me battle at any point between the two rivers. If he will, I shall fight him at all hazards. At the present moment there is firing
October 17th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
the present moment there is firing heard, but I have not received any report. I have most earnestly, by special telegram, recommended Gibbon for promotion. Indeed, himself and Buford are the only two that I have urged in this special manner on the attention of the department. The difficulty is that there are no vacancies in the grade of major general, and several appointments have been made in excess of the number authorized by law. Headquarters army of the Potomac, Centreville, October 17, 1863. Lee made a desperate effort to get in my rear, but I succeeded in out-manoeuvring him, and got into position at this place, Centreville, with my back to Washington, and ready for his attack if he had chosen to make it. Bristoe, Va., campaign. This is the third day we have been here and he has not come forward; I am trying to find out where he now is. If he is near me I shall attack him, but I fear that, failing in his manoeuvre, he is either going back, or going up into the Val
October 21st, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
position at this place, Centreville, with my back to Washington, and ready for his attack if he had chosen to make it. Bristoe, Va., campaign. This is the third day we have been here and he has not come forward; I am trying to find out where he now is. If he is near me I shall attack him, but I fear that, failing in his manoeuvre, he is either going back, or going up into the Valley of the Shenandoah, where I shall have to follow him. Headquarters army of the Potomac, Warrenton, October 21, 1863. Lee has retired across the Rappahannock, after completely destroying the railroad on which I depend for my supplies. His object is to prevent my advance, and in the meantime send more troops to Bragg. This was a deep game, and I am free to admit that in the playing of it he has got the advantage of me. Warrenton, October 23, 1863. Yesterday I received an order to repair to Washington, to see the President. I arrived in Washington at 2 P. M., and expected to leave at 6 P.
October 23rd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
s either going back, or going up into the Valley of the Shenandoah, where I shall have to follow him. Headquarters army of the Potomac, Warrenton, October 21, 1863. Lee has retired across the Rappahannock, after completely destroying the railroad on which I depend for my supplies. His object is to prevent my advance, and in the meantime send more troops to Bragg. This was a deep game, and I am free to admit that in the playing of it he has got the advantage of me. Warrenton, October 23, 1863. Yesterday I received an order to repair to Washington, to see the President. I arrived in Washington at 2 P. M., and expected to leave at 6 P. M., but was detained so late that I remained there all night, and left this morning, early. The President was, as he always is, very considerate and kind. He found no fault with my operations, although it was very evident he was disappointed that I had not got a battle out of Lee. He coincided with me that there was not much to be gained
October 30th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
lways is, very considerate and kind. He found no fault with my operations, although it was very evident he was disappointed that I had not got a battle out of Lee. He coincided with me that there was not much to be gained by any farther advance; but General Halleck was very urgent that something should be done, but what that something was he did not define. As the Secretary of War was absent in Tennessee, final action was postponed till his return. Headquarters army of the Potomac, October 30, 1863. You seem to be very much puzzled about my retreat, as you misname it. It was not a retreat, but a withdrawal of the army—manoeuvring to get into a proper position to offer battle, and made to prevent Lee from compelling me to fight at a disadvantage. Had I been able to ascertain his movements, I would have given him battle the day Warren was attacked; but I was misled by information which induced me to believe he was farther ahead. As it afterwards turned out, I was ahead of him;
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