Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/232
226 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Susquehanna, and, crossing the river below Harrisburg, seize the railroad between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, it being supposed that all reinforcements that might be coming from the North would be diverted to the defence of that city, and that there would be such alarm created by these movements that the Federal Government would be obliged to withdraw its army from Virginia and abandon any plan that it might have for an attack upon Richmond.
LEE'S FIRST INFORMATION.
I sent the orders about 10 o'clock at night to General Ewell and General Hill, and had just returned to my tent, when I was sent for by the commanding general. I found him sitting in his tent with a man in citizen's dress, whom I did not know to be a soldier, but who, General Lee informed me, was a scout of General Longstreet's, who had just been brought to him.
He told me that this scout had left the neighborhood of Frede- ricktown that morning, and had brought information that the Fede- ral army had crossed the Potomac, and that its advance had reached Fredericktown, and was moving thence westward towards the moun- tains. The scout informed General Lee that General Meade was then in command of the army, and also as to the movements of the enemy, which was the first information that General Lee had received since he left Virginia. He inferred from the fact that the advance of the enemy had turned westward from Frederick that his purpose was to enter the Cumberland Valley south of our army, and obstruct our communication through Hagerstown with Virginia, General Lee said that, while he did not consider that he had complete communication with Virginia, he had all the communication that he needed, as long as the enemy had no considerable force in the Cumberland Valley. His principal need for communicating with Virginia was to procure ammunition, and he thought that he could always do that with an escort, if the valley were free from a Federal force, but should the enemy have a considerable force in the valley this would be impos- sible. He considered it of great importance that the enemy's army should be kept east of the mountains, and, consequently, he deter- mined to move his own army to the east side of the Blue Ridge, so as to threaten Washington and Baltimore, and detain the Federal forces on that side of the mountains to protect those cities. He di- . rected me to countermand the orders to General Ewell and General Hill, and to order the latter to move eastward on the road through