Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/68

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64 Sot/tin rt' Il',xtnr'i<-<ll Xor/r/// I 'timers.

were no reports from either of them to General Lee at the time of the movements of the enemy.


What General Lee would have done, had he known the facts fully instead of being compelled to act upon the imperfect information of the scout, is a question open to speculation, for General Lee never disclosed what were his plans in contingencies that never arose. But had he known that Meade's army was moving the left wing, com- posed of three corps through Emmetsburg to Gettysburg, and the other four moving on lines east of that route and kept within .easy supporting distance, the I2th and 2d Corps directed upon Gettys- burg, the 5th upon Hanover, and the 6th to Manchester, to be a gen- eral reserve to the whole, it is almost positively certain that he would not have crossed his army over the mountain.

The Union correspondence may throw some light to guide the speculations of those inclined to construct a theory based upon probabilities.

General Couch, commanding in that department, with headquar- ters at Harrisburg, wrote to the Secretary of War June 2gth (page 407): " I hold from Altoona along the Juniata and Susquehannah to Conowingo bridge above Havre-de-Grace (a distance of more than 200 miles). My whole force organized is, perhaps, 16,000 men. 5,000 regulars can whip them all to pieces in an open field. I am afraid they will ford the river in its present state." Again, on the same day, to General Meade: "I have only 15,000 men, such as they are, on my whole line say 9,000 here."

Lieutenant Thomas, Adjutant-General, wrote to Secretary E. M. Staunton from Harrisburg July ist (page 478): " This is a difficult place to defend, as the river is fordable both above and below," and proceeds to comment upon the "want of artillery and especially of practiced artillerists," and the deficiency of cavalry, and con- cludes: " The excitement here is not so great as I found it in Phila- delphia, and the people begin to understand that the fate of this city depends entirely upon the results of the operations of the Army of the Potomac."


Simon Cameron to Mr. Lincoln from Harrisburg June 2Qth (409): "Let me impress upon you the absolute necessity of action by Meade to-morrow, even if attended with great risk, because if Lee