« PreviousContinue »
test was maintained, the enemy makIng desperate but unsuccessful efforts to secure it. Notwithstanding the stubborn resistance of the third corps, under Major-General Birney, Major-General Sickles having been wounded early in the action, the superiority in number of corps in the enemy enabling him to outflank its advance position, General Birney was counselled to fall back and re-form behind the line originally designed to be held. In the mean time, perceiving great exertions on the part of the enemy, the sixth corps (MajorGeneral Sedgwick's) and part of the first Corps (to the command of which I had assigned Major-General Newton), particularly Lockwood's Maryland brigade, together with detachments from the *cond corps, were all brought up at different periods, and succeeded, together With the gallant resistance of the fifth *Ps, in checking, and finally repulsing the assault of the enemy, who retired in °nfusion and disorder about sunset, *d ceased any further efforts. “On the extreme left another assault Was, however, made about eight P.M. on the eleventh corps from the left of the town, which was repulsed with the assistance of the troops from the second *d first corps. During the heavy as*lt upon our extreme left, portions of the twelfth corps were sent as reinforce*nts. During their absence, the line * the extreme right was held by a very *ch reduced force. This was taken advantage of by the enemy, who, during the absence of Geary's division of the twelfth corps, advanced and occupied
part of the line. On the morning of the 3d, General Geary, having returned during the night, was attacked at early dawn by the enemy, but succeeded in driving him back and occupying his former position. A spirited contest was maintained all morning along this part of the line, General Geary, reinforced by Wheaton's brigade, sixth corps, maintained his position and inflicted very severe losses on the enemy. With this exception the quiet of the lines remained undisturbed till one P.M. on the 3d, when the enemy opened from over 125 guns, playing upon our centre and left. This cannonade continued for over two hours, when our guns failing to make any reply, the enemy ceased firing, and soon his masses of infantry became visible, forming for an assault on our left and left centre. The assault was made with great firmness, being
directed principally against the point
occupied by the second corps, and was repelled with equal firmness by the troops of that corps, supported by Doubleday's division and Stannard's brigade of the first corps. “During the assault, both MajorGeneral Hancock, commanding the left centre, and Brigadier-General Gibbon, commanding the second corps, were severely wounded. “This terminated the battle, the enemy retiring to his lines, leaving the field strewed with his dead and wounded, and numbers of prisoners fell into our hands. “Buford's division of cavalry, after its arduous service at Gettysburg on the
1st, was, on the 2d, sent to Westminster to refit and guard our trains. Kilpatrick's division, that on the 29th, 30th, and 1st, had been successfully engaging the enemy's cavalry, was on the 3d sent to our extreme left, on the Emmettsburg road, where good service was rendered in assaulting the enemy's line and occupying his attention. At the same time General Gregg was engaged with the enemy on our extreme right, having passed across the Baltimore pike and Bonaughtown road, and boldly attacked the enemy's left and rear. “On the morning of the 4th, a reconnoissance developed that the enemy had drawn back his left flank, but maintained his position in front of our left, apparently assuming a new line parallel to the mountain. “On the morning of the 5th, it was ascertained that the enemy was in full retreat by the Fairfield and Cashtown roads. The sixth corps was immediately sent in pursuit on the Fairfield road, and cavalry on the Cashtown road, and by the Emmettsburg and Monterey Passes. “The 5th and 6th of July were employed in succoring the wounded and burying the dead. Major-General Sedgwick, commanding the sixth corps, having pushed the pursuit of the enemy as far as the Fairfield Pass and the mountains, and reporting that the Pass was very strong—one in which a small force of the enemy could hold in check and delay for a considerable time any pursuing force—I determined to follow the
enemy by a flank movement, and accordingly, leaving McIntosh's brigade of cavalry and Neil's brigade of infantry to continue harassing the enemy, I put the army in motion for Middletown, and orders were immediately sent to MajorGeneral French, at Frederick, to reoccupy Harper's Ferry, and send a force to occupy Turner's Pass in South Mountain. I subsequently ascertained that Major-General French had not only anticipated these orders, in part, but had pushed a cavalry force to Williamsport and Falling Waters, where they destroyed the enemy's pontoon bridge and captured its guard. Buford was, at the same time, sent to Williamsport and Hagerstown. The duty above assigned to the cavalry was most successfully accomplished, the enemy being greatly harassed, his trains destroyed, and many captures of guns and prisoners made. “After halting a day at Middletown to procure necessary supplies and bring up trains, the army moved through South Mountain, and by the 12th of July was in front of the enemy, who occupied a strong position on the heights near the marsh which runs in advance of Williamsport. In taking this position, several skirmishes and affairs had been had with the enemy, principally by the cavalry and the eleventh and sixth corps. The thirteenth was occupied in reconnoissances of the enemy's position and in preparations for an attack ; but on advancing on the morning of the 14th, it was ascertained that he had retired the night previous by the bridge at Falling Waters and ford at Williamsport. The cavalry in pursuit overtook the rearguard at Falling Waters, capturing two guns and numerous prisoners. Previous to the retreat of the enemy, Gregg's division of cavalry was crossed at Harper's Ferry, and coming up with the rear of the enemy at Charlestown and Shepherdstown, had a spirited contest, in which the enemy was driven to Martinsburg and Winchester, and pursued and harassed in his retreat. “The pursuit was resumed by a flank movement of the army crossing the Potomac at Berlin and moving down the Loudon Valley. The cavalry were immediately pushed into several passes of the Blue Ridge, and having learned from servants of the withdrawal of the Confederate army from the lower valley of the Shenandoah, the army (the third corps, Major-General French, being in advance) was moved into Manassas Gap in the hope of being able to intercept a portion of the enemy in possession of the Gap, which was disputed so successfully
AS to enable the rear-guard to withdraw 189
by the way of Strasburg. The Confederate army retiring to the Rapidan, a position was taken with this army on the line of the Rappahannock, and the campaign terminated about the close of July.
“The result of the campaign may be briefly stated in the defeat of the enemy at Gettysburg, his compulsory evacuation of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and his withdrawal from the upper valley of the Shenandoah ; and in the capture of 3 guns, 41 standards, and 13,621 prisoners. 24,978 small-arms were collected on the battle-field. Our own losses were very severe, amounting, as will be seen by the accompanying return, to 2,834 killed, 13,709 wounded, and 6,643 missing—in all 23,186.”
The strength of the two armies after the first day was about equal, the amount of each available force being computed at about 105,000 of all arms. The loss of the enemy in the battle has been estimated as high as 5,500 killed, 21,000 wounded, and 14,000 taken prisoners.
Life of General Meade.—His Military Elucation, Career, and Services.—The Victory of Gettysburg gained under unfavorable circumstances.—Great credit due to Meade.—What would have been the Consequences of a Defeat at Gettysburg.—The North ill-prepared for Defence.—Political Inquietude.—Alarm at the North at the Prospect of Lee's Invasion.—The People Arming at last.—Action of Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania.-The People of Penn
sylvania slow to move.—Their Excitement and Alarm.—What was done by the Pennsylvanians.—President Lincoln
calls out the Militia.-His Proclamation.—Proclamations of the Governors.--Prompt Response of New York and
New Jersey.—Their Militia early in the Field.
GENERAL MEADE, who had so signally illustrated his assumption of the command of the Army of the Potomac by the great victory of Gettysburg, was born in Spain, in 1815. His parents, who were Americans, were residing at the time of his birth in Barcelona. After their return to the United States, one of their sons entered the navy, and the other, George C. Meade, the present General, became, in 1831, a cadet at West Point. He graduated on the 30th of June, 1835, number nineteen, in a large class. On the 1st of July, 1835, he was appointed a brevet second lieutenant in the Third Artillery, and in December following was promoted to the full rank. On the 26th of October, 1836, he resigned and engaged in some civil occupation, in which he remained until the 19th of May, 1842, when he re-entered the U. S. military service with the appointment of second lieutenant of Topographical Engineers. Serving during the war with Mexico, he was honorably mentioned in the official reports for his good conduct at the battle of Palo Alto, and subse
quently, after bearing a distinguished part in the battle of Monterey, was brevetted a first lieutenant, dating from September 23, 1846. In August, 1851, he was promoted to a first lieutenancy, and on the 19th of May, 1856, to a captaincy, which rank he held at the beginning of the rebellion. When the call was made by the President for 300,000 volunteers, Captain Meade was appointed one of the brigade commanders of the division of Pennsylvania troops under General McCall, and raised to the rank of brigadier-general of volunteers, with a commission dating August 31, 1861. When McCall's division was organized at Tenallytown, near Washington, General Meade commanded the second brigade, and joined effective Y in the work. In the advance of the Army of the Potomac toward Manassas, in March, 1862, the division in which General Meade commanded was attached to the first corps, under General McDowell. with whom it remained north of tho' Rappahannock, until after the battle of Hanover Station. The division *"