Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/119

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109
General C. M. Wilcox on the Battle of Gettysburg.

eral Lee states in his report, that so soon as the Federal army should cross the Potomac, General Stuart would give notice of its movements, and, as nothing had been heard from him since the entrance of the army into Maryland, it was believed the enemy had not yet left Virginia. He therefore gave orders to move upon Harrisburg; but in the night of the 28th June, a scout, who had been sent out by General Longstreet before crossing the Potomac, returned about 10 P. M., and reported the enemy had crossed the Potomac, and was moving westward. This information was all important, and though not so full as could be desired, nevertheless justified General Lee in modifying the movements contemplated, and, instead of marching upon Harrisburg as ordered, he threw A. P. Hill forward with two of his divisions towards Gettysburg, and determined to concentrate his forces east of the mountains. It is important to note the fact that the scout who brought the information of such vital importance, which, as soon as received by General Lee, caused him to change his orders and set his whole army in motion at once, reached General Longstreet at 10 P. M., and yet he was not sent to General Lee until the following morning, as General Longstreet himself informs us. In all occupations engaged in by man, time is an important element, and in none has it a higher value than in active military campaigns; and yet we see that this important information as to the enemy's movements was withheld from General Lee by the General next in rank to him at least five or six hours.

Heth's division of Hill's corps moved from the vicinity of Fayetteville across the mountains to Cashtown, eight miles from Gettysburg, followed by Pender's division of the same corps. The next day—July 1st—Anderson's division, the third and remaining division of Hill's corps, McLaws' and Hood's divisions of Longstreet's followed there being several hours' interval between the marching of the latter and Anderson. Rodes' and Early's divisions of Ewell's corps marched, the first from Heidlesburg, the latter from Berlin, three miles east, on the morning of the 1st July for Cashtown; but Hill, having reported to Ewell that the enemy were at Gettysburg, changed their direction for that place. The engagement was brought on by Heth's and Pender's divisions moving towards Gettysburg in the morning of the 1st July. This advance brought on the collision of the first day, which had not been anticipated, because the proximity of the enemy was not known.

The battle had been joined some time when Rodes came upon