Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/70

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

66 Southern Historical Society Papers.

and had, on the 29th, made a thorough reconnoisance of the de- fenses of the place, with the view of our advance upon it, a step which every man in the division contemplated with eagerness, and which was to have been executed on the 3Oth." Ewell, therefore, must have known that the river was fordable above and below the city, and something of the number and quality of the troops de- fending it.

With these lights to guide us, it seems probable that General Lee, with his communications safe, would not have called off Ewell from before Harrisburg, but rather pressed him forward to its capture, and after the capture, it may be to turn back to the assistance of Hill, possibly to cross over the river and meet Meade on the line of the Susquehannah, a condition that appeared so alarming to Senator Cameron, or even to hasten to the capture of Philadelphia, trusting to his ability, with the two corps of Longstreet and Hill, to hold Meade' s army in check in the mountain passes an expectation that does not appear so unreasonable, since he, with but little more than two-thirds of his present army, at Chancellorsville, had defeated the Army of the Potomac, stronger in numbers and morale than at this time. General Meade could not possibly have moved upon the gap in rear of Cashtown before July ist, and he states that he proposed to make that a day of rest and to bring up his supply there. On the zgth, Hill was at Fayetteville, on the road from Chambersburg to Cashtown, and in his report, writes (p. 606): " I was directed to move on this road in the direction of York, and to cross the Susque- hannah, menacing the communications of Harrisburg with Philadel- phia, and to co-operate with General Ewell, acting as circumstances might require. Accordingly, on the 29th, I moved Heth's division to Cashtown, some eight miles from Gettysburg, following on the morning of the 3oth with the division of Pender." This order, un- der which Hill was acting, was evidently the one for the general advance upon Harrisburg and the line of the Susquehannah, issued on the 28th, under the impression that the army of the Potomac was still in Virginia.


It so happened that Hill was just where he should have been to observe the movements of Meade' s army and to guard the passes through the mountains. Longstreet at Chambersburg, midway between the two wings, was in easy supporting distance of either of them. Stuart, with his three brigades of cavalry, would have re-