Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/295

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The Gettysburg Campaign.

Major-General Hunt (page 453) testified that "on the 3d of July, after the great charge had failed, our troops had been very roughly handled when they were attacked, and for that reason it was not easy to make a counter-attack." He further says that "in his opinion there were good reasons for not attacking Lee that afternoon, July 3d." In a letter written January 12th, 1888, to General Webb, General Hunt says, "General Meade was right in not attempting a counter-attack at any stage of the battle." Major-General Sedgwick, second in command, testified (page 460) that "it was not expedient, in his judgment, to attack Lee after such a charge as this." As to the condition of the Federal army, we may infer what it was from the testimony of Major-General Warren, Chief of Engineers (page 380), "I should have fought on the morning of the 12th of July if I could have got my troops to fight."

This testimony of the corps commanders of the Army of the Potomac, given under oath, makes it very evident that the officers and men who fought the Army of Northern Virginia those three days of July, 1863, had no idea at the close of the battle that they had gained a victory. General Meade himself, the Commander in Chief, had no contemporaneous delusions on the subject of Gettysburg, as is made manifest by a letter addressed to his wife on the 8th of July, 1863. In it he announced to her his appointment of Brigadier-General in the regular army, which Halleck had forwarded to him, complimenting him on the victory at Gettysburg, and General Meade proceeds, "I send you a document received yesterday afternoon. It will give you pleasure, I know. Preserve it, because the terms in which the General in Chief speaks of the battle are stronger than any I have deemed it proper to use myself. I never claimed a victory, though I stated that Lee was defeated in his efforts to destroy my army." (Life and Letters of General Meade, Volume 2, page 133). This then is the judgment of the man who commanded the Federal army at Gettysburg-he never claimed a victory.

To this let me add an extremely interesting statement found in the diary of Colonel Fremantle, the English soldier already quoted. He says, (page 287 of his narrative) that the "officer