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their excellent conduct: "Had I applied the torch without regard to consequences, I would have pursued a course that would have been fully vindicated as an act of just retaliation for the unparalleled acts of brutality perpetrated by your own army on our soil. But we do not war upon women and children, and I trust the treatment you have met with at the hands of my soldiers will open your eyes to the odious tyranny under which it is apparent to all you are groaning."
The Army of the Potomac, meanwhile, was slowly advancing to its work. Having crossed the Potomac, on the 25th and 26th of June, at Edwards' Ferry, the army advanced to Frederick, Maryland, where Hooker established his headquarters, and whence he might move upon Lee in the direction which seemed most advantageous. It appears to have been his purpose to menace the rebel rear by a movement towards Chambersburg, and he ordered Slocum to march with the 12th corps to Harper's Ferry, and taking with him the garrison there, under French, 11,000 strong, to push forward the proposed demonstration; but Halleck interfered. Hooker remonstrated, in earnest terms, and pointed out that the garrison at the Ferry was of no earthly use in the present state of affairs; but the generalin-chief was not to be moved; Maryland Heights must be held; "much expense and labor had been incurred in fortifying them." Hooker, indignant at having his plans interfered with, and probably not altogether comfortable in other respects, determined to throw up his command. On the 27th of June, he
requested to be relieved, and the next morning an order came from Washington, acceding to his request, and appointing Gen. George G. Meade to the command of the Army of the Potomac.*
Warned by what
The appointment was an excellent one, probably the best that could have been made, and both the officers and the army felt every confidence in the judgment, courage, and skill of their new commander. had taken place on previous occasions, Meade's address to the army, June 28th, was simple, unadorned by rhetorical flourishes, and straightforward :-" By direction of the President of the United States, I hereby assume command of the Army of the Potomac. As a soldier, in obeying this order, an order totally unexpected and unsolicited, I have no promises or pledges to make. The country looks to this army to relieve it from the devastation and disgrace of a hostile invasion. Whatever fatigues and sacrifices we may be called upon to undergo, let us have in view constantly the magnitude of the interests involved, and let each man determine to do his duty, leaving to an all-controlling Providence the decision of the contest."
At this date, Lee was preparing to cross the Susquehanna and strike Harrisburg, but having received informa tion from a scout that Meade's army
* Mr. Swinton, who does not spare Halleck for his
vexatious interference, thinks that "the conduct of Gen. Hooker cannot be accounted noble or highminded.
A truly lofty sense of duty would have dictated much long suffering, in a conjuncture of circumstances, amid compromised by the sudden change of commanders.' which the success of the campaign might be seriously See Swinton's "Army of the Potomac," p. 321-323.
OPENING OF THE BATTLE.
deadly struggle, Meade issued an address to the army, in which, with the utmost earnestness, he besought the officers and soldiers to bear in mind what vast interests depended on their steadiness and good conduct. "Homes, firesides, and do
was advancing northward, and that the head of the column had reached South Mountain, he was compelled, by this rapid gathering on his flank, to concentrate his forces on the east side of the mountain, in order to preserve his communications with the Potomac. Ac-mestic altars are involved. The army has cordingly, Longstreet and Hill were or dered to proceed from Chambersburg towards Gettysburg, about twenty miles eastward, to which point Ewell also was directed to countermarch from York and Carlisle.
fought well heretofore. It is believed that it will fight more desperately and bravely than ever, if it is addressed in fitting terms. Corps and other commanders are authorized to order the instant death of any soldier who fails to do his duty at this hour."
It was evident, from the state of things, that a collision between the two On the night of June 30th, the right armies could not be far distant. Meade, wing of the army was ordered to Manhaving compelled Lee to loose his hold chester, in rear of Pipe Creek, the cenupon the Susquehanna, was carefully tre was directed towards Two Taverns considering where to select a position and Hancock, while the left wing, conin which to receive battle on advantage- sisting of the 1st, 11th, and 3d ous terms. The line of Pipe Creek, corps, under Gen. Reynolds, moved on the ridge between the Monocacy and forward to occupy Gettysburg the next the waters running into Chesapeake morning. Buford, with his cavalry, Bay, seemed adapted to his purpose; passing through the town, pushed out but no decision was yet formed, and reconnaissances west and north, to asvarious circumstances soon after occur- certain, if possible, the movements of ring, led, providentially, to the making Lee's army. On the morning of Tueschoice of Gettysburg as the point where day, June 30th, a portion of Hill's the rebels were to be signally repulsed. corps advanced on the Chambersburg On the 29th of June, Meade's army was road as far as the crest of Seminary in motion, and at night was in position, Hill, half a mile north-west of the vilthe left at Emmittsburg and the right lage, but did not remain, retiring toat New Windsor. Buford's division of wards Cashtown. About nine o'clock, cavalry was on the left flank, with its the next morning, July 1st, Buford advance at Gettysburg; Kilpatrick's found himself engaged, rather unexdivision was in front at Hanover. The pectedly, with the van of Hill's force, next day, in view of the approaching about a mile west of the town.
* Gen. French, who was in command at Harper's
Ferry, was ordered, on the 28th of June, to leave that post, which was represented, incorrectly, however, as destitute of supplies; to occupy Frederick with 7,000 of his men, and with the remaining 4,000 to remove and escort the public property to Washington.
of the importance of retarding Hill's advance, Buford skilfully arranged his' men and used his artillery to good effect. In less than an hour, Reynolds reached Gettysburg, and dashing
town road, known to be Hill's corps.
through the town, hastened to Buford's support. He deployed his advance division immediately, and attacked the enemy, at the same time sending orders for the 11th corps (Howard's) to advance as rapidly as possible. Reynolds found himself engaged with a force greatly outnumbering his own, and had scarcely made his dispositions for the action, when a ball from one of the enemy's sharpshooters struck him, and he fell mortally wounded, at the head of his advance.* This devolved the command of the 1st corps upon Doubleday, and the charge of the field on Howard, who arrived about midday, with the 11th corps, then commanded by Gen. Schurz. Howard pushed forward two divisions under Schurz and Barlow to support the 1st corps, which had bravely and nobly withstood the rebel assault, on the ridge to the north of the town. The other division of the 11th corps under Steinwehr was posted, by Howard, with three bat-complished-not, however, without a teries of artillery, on Cemetery Hill, on the south of the town of Gettysburg, a most important step, and as it happened, the one which, in Meade's hands, secured the repulse of the rebels.
Up to this time the battle had been with the forces of the enemy debouching from the mountains on the Cash
* Prof. Jacobs, speaking of Gen. Reynolds, says: “He has been charged with rashness, with fool-hardi. ness, and with prematurely bringing on the battle. But it would, perhaps, be more just to say that he had but little direct agency in bringing it on; that it was
unavoidable; that it was forced on us by the rebels; that if they had not been held in check that day, they
would have pressed on and obtained the impregnable
position which we were enabled to hold; and that, most of all the hand of Providence, who gave us a signal victory, was in the arrangements of that day."'Notes on the Rebel Invasion," 1863, p. 26.
loss in prisoners of 2,500 to 3,000, arising from the confusion incident to the being pressed by the enemy while portions of both corps were passing through the town.
About the time of the withdrawal just noted, Hancock arrived, having been sent by Meade, on hearing of the death of Reynolds, to take command on the field, until he himself should reach the front. Hancock, in conjunction with Howard, proceeded to post troops on Cemetery Ridge or Hill, and to repel an attack made on our right flank, which was promptly done. The rebels, seeing the strength of the position oc cupied, desisted from any further at
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SECOND DAY.
o'clock A.M., Thursday morning, July 2d.
tack this day. About seven P.M., Slocum and Sickles, with the 12th corps, and part of the 3d, reached the ground, and took post on the right and left of the troops previously posted. The rebels, according to the accounts of eyewitnesses, were much elated with the results of the contest thus far, and they expressed themselves as abundantly able to cut up Meade's army in detail, fatigued as it was by long marches, and with only two corps which had as yet arrived. On the other hand, the prospect was much more gloomy and disheartening to our men; yet, though the hours of that first of July night were weary with painful expectation, The right of the 12th rested on a they did not give way to despondency; small stream, Rock Creek, at a point they nerved themselves to fight for the where it crossed the Baltimore turncause of truth and right, in the confi- pike. Cemetery Ridge extended in a dence that truth and right would pre- westerly and southerly direction, gradvail.* ually diminishing in elevation till it came to a very prominent ridge, called Round Top, running east and west. The 2d and 3d corps were directed to occupy the continuation of Cemetery Ridge, on the left of the 11th. The 2nd, pending the arrival of the 6th, was held in reserve. While these dispositions were being made, the enemy was massing his troops on the exterior ridge, distant from the line occupied by us from a mile to a mile and a-half. At two P.M., the 6th corps (Sedgwick's) arrived, after a march of thirty-two miles since nine o'clock of the eve
Meade, satisfied that Lee would renew the attack in full force the next day, and also that the position already secured offered most valuable means of defence, resolved to give battle at this point. Early in the evening of July 1st, he ordered all the corps to concentrate at Gettysburg, the trains being sent meanwhile to the rear at Westminster. Headquarters at Taneytown were broken up at eleven o'clock that night, and Meade arrived on the field at one
* It is interesting here to compare Lee's statements, in his report, in regard to the movements and operations of the 1st of July. Having spoken of his men driving our forces through Gettysburg with heavy loss, and claiming that he had taken 5,000 prisoners and several pieces of artillery, he gave as his reason for not pressing the attack, that he was waiting for his troops to come up. He was, moreover, in doubt as to the amount of Meade's force, and as to fighting a general battle so far from his base.
VOL. IV. 42.
ning before. On Sedgwick's arrival, the Army of the Potomac was about equal in numbers to that of the rebels, whose line was about five miles in stretch, and was in part well concealed by a fringe of woods. Imme
diately on the arrival of the 6th corps, the 5th was directed to remove over to the extreme left, and the 6th to occupy its place as a reserve for the right.
Thursday morning, July 2d, did not present quite so bright a prospect to the rebels as the night before. Then, they were jubilant over expected success; now, on further examination of the position of our army, and being aware of large reinforcements having arrived, Lee saw plainly that it was no such easy task as had been anticipated to drive back Meade; hence, he made his arrangements leisurely and with care before beginning the attack. "Here I cannot but remark," says Mr. Everett in his Address,* "on the providential inaction of the rebel army. Had the contest been renewed by it at daylight, on the 2d of July, with the 1st and 11th corps exhausted by the battle and the retreat, the 3d and 12th weary from their forced march, and the 2d, 5th, and 6th not yet arrived, nothing but a miracle could have saved the army from a great disaster. Instead of this, the day dawned, the sun rose, the cool hours of the morning passed, the forenoon and a considerable part of the afternoon wore away, without the slightest aggressive movement of the enemy. Thus time was given for half of our forces to arrive and take their place in the lines, while the rest of the army enjoyed a much needed half-day's
Having perfected his arrangements, * On the 19th of November, 1863, a National Ceme tery was consecrated at Gettysburg, with suitable and imposing ceremonies. The Hon. Edward Everett delivered the address on this interesting occasion, and a dedicatory speech was made by President Lincoln.
Lee gave the signal for the attack a lit tle before half-past four o'clock, when a terrific cannonading began, accompanied by an infantry charge on our left. His plan was to seize the position held by Sickles with the 3d corps, that general having pushed his troops beyond the point which Meade wished and intended, and then to use this posi tion from whence to assail the more elevated ground beyond, and gain possession of the crest of the ridge. This work was assigned to Longstreet and his men. Ewell was ordered to attack the high ground on our right, and Hill was directed to threaten the centre and prevent reinforcements being sent to either wing of our army.
It was a fearful struggle in which Sickles immediately became involved, at a peach orchard near the Emmits burg road. Fierce as was the assault of the rebels, it was steadily met by our men; but at last they began to give way. Sickles rallied them again, and they arrested and hurled back the advancing column for a short time; but finding themselves opposed by an overwhelming mass of the enemy, and hard pressed, Sickles himself being severely wounded, they gave way a second time. It was a most critical moment. rebels had thrust a portion of their force under Hood between the extreme left of Sickles and Round Top, and as Little Round Top was not yet occupied, Hood might have massed his division, pushed boldly for the rocky summit, and thus grasped the key of the battle ground. But help arrived at the opportune moment. Hancock sent a portion of the 2d corps to cover the