Monday, July 1, 2013

Gettysburg – End of the First Day

 In the afternoon of July 1st, Meade received more news of the developing fight at Gettysburg. Hancock, who had taken over the battle, told him that he thought he could hold Cemetery Hill until nightfall, and that it would be an excellent place to fight a battle. Meade therefore decided to abandon his Pipe Creek Plan and meet Lee at Gettysburg. He ordered all his troops in the area forward. Of his seven corps, four were already on the field or very close by, and only one was a long distance away. The Confederates also were planning their movements for the next days. Longstreet had arrived, and looking over the ground, told Lee:
If we could have chosen a point to meet our plan of operation, I do not think we could have found a better one than that upon which they are concentrating. All we have to do is throw our army around by their left, and we shall interpose between the Federal army and Washington. We can get a strong position and wait, and if they fail to attack us we will have everything in condition to move back tomorrow night in the direction of Washington, selecting beforehand a good position into which we can place our troops to receive battle next day. Finding our object is Washington and that army, the Federals will be sure to attack us. When they attack, we shall beat them ... and the probabilities are that the fruits of our success will be great.
Lee however fundamentally disagreed with Longstreet's defensive plan. Lee thought he had to keep control of the campaign. In the enemy's country, with Stuart gone, Lee knew little of the enemy's movements. If he tried a flanking maneuver he would be in real risk of being caught on the road and destroyed. He told Longstreet, “If the enemy is there tomorrow, we must attack him.”


Post a Comment