O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.–The Gettysburg Campaign.
No. 426.–Reports of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
July 31, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following outline of the recent operations of this army, for the information of the Department:
The position occupied by the enemy opposite Fredericksburg -being one in which he could not be attacked to advantage, it was determined to draw him from it. The execution of this purpose embraced the relief of the Shenandoah Valley from the troops that had occupied the lower part of it during the winter and spring, and, if practicable, the transfer of the scene of hostilities north of the Potomac. It was thought that the corresponding movements on the part of the enemy to which those contemplated by us would probably give rise, might offer a fair opportunity to strike a blow at the army then commanded by General Hooker, and that in any even-t that army would be compelled to leave Virginia, and, possibly, to draw to its support troops designed to operate against other parts of the country. In this way it was supposed that the enemy’s plan of campaign for the summer would be broken up, and part of the season of active operations be consumed in the formation of new combinations, and the preparations that they would require. In addition to these advantages, it was hoped that other valuable results might be attained by military success. Actuated by these and other important considerations that may hereafter be presented, the movement began on June 3. McLaws’ division, of Longstreet’s corps, left Fredericksburg for Culpeper Court-House, and Hood’s division, which was encamped on the Rapidan, marched to the same place. They were followed on the 4th and 5th by Ewell’s corps, leaving that of A. P. Hill to occupy our lines at Fredericksburg.
The march of these troops having been discovered by the enemy on the afternoon of the 5th, on the following day he crossed a force amounting to about one army corps to the south side of the Rappahannock, on a pontoon bridge laid down near the mouth of Deep Run. General Hill disposed his command to resist their advance, but as they seemed intended for the purpose of observation rather than attack, the movements in progress were not arrested.
The forces of Longstreet and Ewell reached Culpeper Court-House by the 8th, at which point the cavalry, under General Stuart, was also concentrated.
On the 9th, a large force of Federal cavalry, strongly supported by infantry, crossed the Rappahannock at Beverly and Kelly’s Fords, and attacked General Stuart. A severe engagement ensued, continuing from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, when the enemy was forced to recross the river with heavy loss, leaving 400 prisoners, 3 pieces of artillery, and several colors in our hands.
General Jenkins, with his cavalry brigade, had been ordered to advance to Winchester, to co-operate with the infantry in the proposed expedition into the lower Valley, and at the same time General Imboden was directed with his command to make a demonstration in the direction of Romney, in order to cover the movement against Winchester, and prevent the enemy at that place from being re-en-forced by the troops on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Both of these officers were in position when General Ewell left Culpeper Court-House on the 10th. Crossing the Shenandoah near Front Royal, he detached Rodes’ division to- Berryville, with instructions, after dislodging the force stationed there, to cut off the communication between Winchester and the Potomac. With the «20 R R–VOL XXVII, PT II» <ar44_306> divisions of Early and [Edward] Johnson, General Ewell advanced directly upon Winchester, driving the enemy into his works around the town on the 13th. On the same day the troops at Berryville fell back before General Rodes, retreating to Winchester.
On the 14th, General Early stormed the works at the latter place, and the whole army of General Milroy was captured or dispersed. Most of those who attempted to escape were intercepted and made prisoners by General Johnson. Their leader fled to Harper’s Ferry with a small party of fugitives.
General Rodes marched from Berryville to Martinsburg, entering the latter place on the 14th, where he took 700 prisoners, 5 pieces of artillery, and a considerable quantity of stores. These operations cleared the Valley of the enemy, those at Harper’s Ferry withdrawing to Maryland Heights. More than 4,000 prisoners, 29 pieces of artillery, 270 wagons and ambulances, with 400 horses, were captured, besides a large amount of military stores. Our loss was small.
On the night that Ewell appeared at Winchester, the Federal troops in front of A. P. Hill at Fredericksburg recrossed the Rappahannock, and the next day disappeared behind the hills of Stafford. The whole army of General Hooker withdrew from the line of the Rappahannock, pursuing the roads near the Potomac, and no favorable opportunity was offered for attack. It seemed to be the purpose of General Hooker to take a position which would enable him to cover the approaches to Washington City. With a view to draw him farther from his base, and at the same time to cover the march of A. P. Hill, who, in accordance with instructions, left Fredericksburg for the Valley as soon as the enemy withdrew from his front, Longstreet moved from Culpeper Court-House on the 15th, and, advancing along the east side of the Blue Ridge, occupied Ashby’s and Snicker’s Gaps. His force had been augmented, while at Culpeper, by General Pickett, with three brigades of his division. The cavalry under General Stuart was thrown out in front of Longstreet, to watch the enemy, now reported to be moving into Loudoun.
On the 17th, his cavalry encountered two brigades of ours under General Stuart, near Aldie, and was driven back with loss. The next day the engagement was renewed, the Federal cavalry being strongly supported by infantry, and General Stuart was, in turn, compelled to retire. The enemy advanced as far as Upperville, and then fell back. In these engagements, General Stuart took about 400 prisoners and a considerable number of horses and arms.
In the meantime, a part of General Ewell’s corps had entered Maryland, and the rest was about to follow. General Jenkins, with his cavalry, who accompanied General Ewell, penetrated Pennsylvania as far as Chambersburg. As these demonstrations did not have the effect of causing the Federal Army to leave Virginia, and as it did not seem disposed to advance upon the position held by Longstreet, the latter was withdrawn to the west side of the Shenandoah, General Hill having already reached the Valley. General Stuart was left to guard the passes of the mountains and observe the movements of the enemy, whom he was instructed to harass and impede as much as possible, should he attempt to cross the Potomac. In that event, General Stuart was directed to move into Mary]and, crossing the Potomac east or west of the Blue Ridge, as, in his judgment, should be best, and take position on the right of our column as it advanced.
By the 24th, the progress of Ewell rendered it necessary that the <ar44_307> rest of the army should be within supporting distance, and Longstreet and Hill marched to the Potomac. The former crossed at Williamsport and the latter at Shepherdstown. The columns reunited at Hagerstown, and advanced thence into Pennsylvania, en- camping near Chambersburg on the 27th.
No report had been received that the Federal Army had crossed the Potomac, and the absence of the cavalry rendered it impossible to obtain accurate information. In order, however, to retain it on the east side of the mountains, after it should enter Maryland, and thus leave open our communication with the Potomac through Hagerstown and Williamsport, General Ewell had been instructed to send a division eastward from Chambersburg to cross the South Mountain. Early’s division was detached for this purpose, and proceeded as far east as York, while the remainder of the corps proceeded to Carlisle.
General Imboden, in pursuance of the instructions previously referred to, had been actively engaged on the left of General Ewell during the progress of the latter into Maryland. He had driven off the forces guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, destroying all the important bridges on that route from Cumberland to Martinsburg, and seriously damaged the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. He subsequently took position at Hancock, and, after the arrival of Longstreet and Hill at Chambersburg, was directed to march by way of McConnellsburg to that place.
Preparations were now made to advance upon Harrisburg; but, on the night of the 28th, information was received from a scout that the Federal Army, having crossed the Potomac, was advancing northward, and that the head of the column had reached the South Mountain. As our communications with the Potomac were thus menaced, it was resolved to prevent his farther progress in that direction by concentrating our army on the east side of the mountains. Accordingly, Longstreet and Hill were directed to proceed from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, to which point General Ewell was also instructed to march from Carlisle.
General Stuart continued to follow the movements of the Federal Army south of the Potomac, after our own had entered Maryland, and, in his efforts to impede its progress, advanced as far eastward as Fairfax Court-House. Finding himself unable to delay the enemy materially, he crossed the river at Seneca, and marched through Westminster to Carlisle, where he arrived after General Ewell had left for Gettysburg. By the route he pursued, the Federal Army was interposed between his command and our main body, preventing any communication with him until his arrival at Carlisle. The march toward Gettysburg was conducted more slowly than it would have been had the movements of the Federal Army been known.
The leading division of Hill met the enemy in advance of Gettysburg on the morning of July 1. Driving back these troops to within a short distance of the town, he there encountered a larger force, with which two of his divisions became engaged. Ewell, coming up with two of his divisions by the Heidlersburg road, joined in the engagement. The enemy was driven through Gettysburg with heavy loss, including about 5,000 prisoners and several pieces of artillery. He retired to a high range of hills south and east of the town. The attack was not pressed that afternoon, the enemy’s force being unknown, and it being considered advisable to await the arrival of the rest of our troops. Orders were sent back to hasten their march, and, <ar44_308> in the meantime, every effort was made to ascertain the numbers and position of the enemy, and find the most favorable point of attack. It had not been intended to fight a general battle at such a distance from our base, unless attacked by the enemy, but, finding ourselves unexpectedly confronted by the Federal Army, it became a matter of difficulty to withdraw through the mountains with our large trains. At the same time, the country was unfavorable for collecting supplies while in the presence of the enemy’s main body, as he was enabled to restrain our foraging parties by occupying the passes of the mountains with regular and local troops. A battle thus became, in a measure, unavoidable. Encouraged by the successful issue of the engagement of the first day, and in view of the valuable results that would ensue from the defeat of the army of General Meade, it was thought advisable to renew the attack. The remainder of Ewell’s and Hill’s corps having arrived, and two divisions of Longstreet’s, our preparations were made accordingly. During the afternoon, intelligence was received of the arrival of General Stuart at Carlisle, and he was ordered to march to Gettysburg and take position on our left. A full account of these engagements cannot be given until the reports of the several commanding officers shall have been received, and I shall only offer a general description.
The preparations for attack were not completed until the afternoon of the 2d. The enemy held a high and commanding ridge, along which he had massed a large amount of artillery. General Ewell occupied the left of our line, General Hill the center, and General Longstreet the right. In front of General Longstreet the enemy held a position from which, if he could be driven, it was thought our artillery could be used to advantage in assailing the more elevated ground beyond, and thus enable us to reach the crest of the ridge. That officer was directed to endeavor to carry this position, while General Ewell attacked directly the high ground on the enemy’s right, which had already been partially fortified. General Hill was instructed to threaten the center of the Federal line, in order to prevent re-enforcements being sent to either wing, and to avail himself of any opportunity that might present itself to attack. After a severe struggle, Longstreet succeeded in getting possession of and holding the desired ground. Ewell also carried some of the strong positions which he assailed, and the result was such as to lead to the belief that he would ultimately be able to dislodge the enemy. The battle ceased at dark.
These partial successes determined me to continue the assault next day. Pickett, with three of his brigades, joined Longstreet the following morning, and our batteries were moved forward to the positions gained by him the day before. The general plan of attack was unchanged, excepting that one division and two brigades of Hill’s corps were ordered to support Longstreet.
The enemy, in the meantime, had strengthened his lines with earthworks. The morning was occupied in necessary preparations, and the battle recommenced in the afternoon of the 3d, and raged with great violence until sunset. Our troops succeeded in entering the advanced works of the enemy, and getting possession of some of his batteries, but our artillery having nearly expended its ammunition, the attacking columns became exposed to the heavy fire of the numerous batteries near the summit of the ridge, and, after a most determined and gallant struggle, were compelled to relinquish their advantage, and fall back to their original positions with severe loss. <ar44_309>
The conduct of the troops was all that I could desire or expect, and they deserve success so far as it can be deserved by heroic valor and fortitude. More may have been required of them than they were able to perform, but my admiration of their noble qualities and confidence in their ability to cope successfully with the enemy has suffered no abatement from the issue of this protracted and sanguinary conflict.
Owing to the strength of the enemy’s position, and the reduction of our ammunition, a renewal of the engagement could not be hazarded, and the difficulty of procuring supplies rendered it impossible to continue longer where we were. Such of the wounded as were in condition to be removed, and part of the arms collected on the field, were ordered to Williamsport.
The army remained at. Gettysburg during the 4th, and at night began to retire by the road to Fairfield, carrying with it about 4,000 prisoners. Nearly 2,000 had previously been paroled, but the enemy’s numerous wounded that had fallen into our hands after the first and second days’ engagements were left behind.
Little progress was made that night, owing to a severe storm, which greatly embarrassed our movements. The rear of the column did not leave its position near Gettysburg until after daylight on the 5th. The march was continued during that day without interruption from the enemy, excepting an unimportant demonstration upon our rear in the afternoon when near Fairfield, which was easily checked. Part of our train moved by the road through Fairfield and the rest by way of Cashtown, guarded by General Imboden. In passing through the mountains in advance of the column, the great length of the trains exposed them to attack by the enemy’s cavalry, which captured a number of wagons and ambulances, but they succeeded in reaching Williamsport without serious loss.
They were attacked at that place on the 6th by the enemy’s cavalry, which was gallantly repulsed by General Imboden. The attacking force was subsequently encountered and driven off by General Stuart, and pursued for several miles in the direction of Boonsborough. The army, after an arduous march, rendered more difficult by the rains, reached Hagerstown on the afternoon of July 6 and morning of the 7th.
The Potomac was found to be so much swollen by the rains that had fallen almost incessantly since our entrance into Maryland as to be unfordable. Our communications with the south side were thus interrupted, and it was difficult to procure either ammunition or subsistence, the latter difficulty being enhanced by the high waters impeding the working of the neighboring mills. The trains with the wounded and prisoners were compelled to await at Williamsport the subsiding of the river and the construction of boats, as the pontoon bridge left at Falling Waters had been partially destroyed. The enemy had not yet made his appearance, but as he was in condition to obtain large re-enforcements, and our situation, for the reasons above mentioned, was becoming daily more embarrassing, it was deemed advisable to recross the river. Part of the pontoon bridge was recovered and new boats built, so that by the 13th a good bridge was thrown over the river at Falling Waters.
The enemy in force reached our front on the 12th. A position had been previously selected to cover the Potomac from Williamsport to Falling Waters, and an attack was awaited during that and the succeeding day. This did not take place, though the two armies were in close proximity, the enemy being occupied in fortifying his own <ar44_310> lines. Our preparations being completed, and the river, though still deep, being pronounced fordable, the army commenced to withdraw to the south side on the night of the 13th. Ewell’s corps forded the river at Williamsport. Those of Longstreet and Hill crossed upon the bridge. Owing to the condition of the roads, the troops did not reach the bridge until after daylight on the 14th, and the crossing was not completed until 1 p.m., when the bridge was removed. The enemy offered no serious interruption, and the movement was attended with no loss of materiel excepting a few disabled wagons and two pieces of artillery, which the horses were unable to move through the deep mud. Before fresh horses could be sent back for them, the rear of the column had passed. During the slow and tedious march to the bridge, in the midst of a violent storm of rain, some of the men lay down by the way to rest. Officers sent back for them failed to find many in the obscurity of the night., and these, with some stragglers, fell into the hands of the enemy.
Brigadier-General Pettigrew was mortally wounded in an attack made by a small body of cavalry, which was unfortunately mistaken for our own, and permitted to enter our lines. He was brought to Bunker Hill, where he expired a few days afterward. He was a brave and accomplished officer and gentleman, and his loss will be deeply felt by the country and the army.
The following day the army marched to Bunker Hill, in the vicinity of which it encamped for several days. The day after its arrival, a large force of the enemy’s cavalry, which had crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry, advanced toward Martinsburg. It was attacked by General Fitz. Lee, near Kearneysville, and defeated with heavy loss, leaving its dead and many of its wounded on the field.
Owing to the swollen condition of the Shenandoah, the plan of operations which had been contemplated when we recrossed the Potomac could not be put into execution, and before the waters had subsided, the movements of the enemy induced me to cross the Blue Ridge and take position south of the Rappahannock, which was accordingly done.
As soon as the reports of the commanding officers shall be received, a more detailed account of these operations will be given, and occasion will then be taken to speak more particularly of the conspicuous gallantry and good conduct of both officers and men.
It is not yet in my power to give a correct statement of our casualties, which were severe, including many brave men, and an unusual proportion of distinguished and valuable officers. Among them I regret to mention the following general officers: Major-Generals Hood, Pender, and Trimble severely, and Major-General Heth slightly wounded.
General Pender has since died. This lamented officer had borne a distinguished part in every engagement of this army, and was wounded on several occasions while leading his command with conspicuous gallantry and ability. The confidence and admiration inspired by his courage and capacity as an officer were only equaled by the esteem and respect entertained by all with whom he was associated for the noble qualities of his modest and unassuming character.
Brigadier-Generals Barksdale and [R. B.] Garnett were killed, and Brigadier-General Semmes mortally wounded, while leading their troops with the courage that always distinguished them. These brave officers and patriotic gentlemen fell in the faithful discharge <ar44_311> of duty, leaving the army to mourn their loss and emulate their noble examples. Brigadier-Generals Kemper, Armistead, Scales, G. T. Anderson, Hampton, J. M. Jones, and Jenkins were also wounded. Brigadier-General Archer was taken prisoner.
General Pettigrew, though wounded at Gettysburg, continued in command until he was mortally wounded, near Falling Waters.
The loss of the enemy is unknown, but from observation on the field, and his subsequent movements, it is supposed that he suffered severely.
R. E. LEE,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.
General ORDERS, No. 74.
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
July 4, 1863.
I. The army will vacate its position this evening. General A. P. Hill’s corps will commence the movement, withdrawing from its position after dark, and proceed on the Fairfield road to the pass in the mountains, which it will occupy, selecting the strongest ground for defense toward the east; General Longstreet’s corps Will follow, and General Ewell’s corps bring up the rear. These two latter corps will proceed through and go into camp. General Longstreet’s corps will be charged with the escort of the prisoners, and will habitually occupy the center of the line of march. General Ewell’s and General Hill’s corps will alternately take the front and rear on the march.
II. The trains which accompany the army will habitually move between the leading and the rear corps, each under the charge of their respective chief quartermasters. Lieutenant-Colonel [James L.] Corley, chief quartermaster of the army, will regulate the order in which they shall move. Corps commanders will see that the officers remain with their trains, and that they move steadily and quietly, and that the animals are properly cared for.
III. The artillery of each corps will move under the charge of their respective chiefs of artillery, the whole under the general superintendence of the commander of the artillery of the army.
IV. General Stuart will designate a cavalry command, not exceeding two squadrons, to precede and follow the army in its line of march, the commander of the advance reporting to the commander of the leading corps, the commander of the rear to the commander of the rear corps. He will direct one or two brigades, as he may think proper, to proceed to Cash town this afternoon, and hold that place until the rear of the army has passed Fairfield, and occupy the gorge in the mountains; after crossing which, to proceed in the direction of Greencastle, guarding the right and rear of the army on its march to Hagerstown and Williamsport. General Stuart, with the rest of the cavalry, will this evening take the route to Emmitsburg, and proceed thence toward Cavetown and Boonsborough, guarding the left and rear of the army.
V. The commanding general earnestly exhorts each corps commander to see that every officer exerts the utmost vigilance, steadiness, and boldness during the whole march.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January –, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit a detailed report of the operations of this army from the time it left the vicinity of Fredericksburg, early in June, to its occupation of the line of the Rapidan, in August.
Upon the retreat of the Federal Army, commanded by Major-General Hooker, from Chancellorsville, it reoccupied the ground north of the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg, where it could not be attacked excepting at a disadvantage. It was determined to draw it from this position, and, if practicable, to transfer the scene of hostilities beyond the Potomac. The execution of this purpose also embraced the expulsion of the force under General Milroy, which had infested the lower Shenandoah Valley during the preceding winter and spring. If unable to attain the valuable results which might be expected to follow a decided advantage gained over the enemy in Maryland or Pennsylvania, it was hoped that we should at least so far disturb his plan for the summer campaign as to prevent its execution during the season of active operations.
The commands of Longstreet and Ewell were put in motion, and encamped around Culpeper Court-House June 7. As soon as their march was discovered by the enemy, he threw a force across the Rappahannock, about 2 miles below Fredericksburg, apparently for the purpose of observation. Hill’s corps was left to watch these troops, with instructions to follow the movements of the army as soon as they should retire.
The cavalry, under General Stuart, which had been concentrated near Culpeper Court-House, was attacked on June 9 by a large force of Federal cavalry, supported by infantry, which crossed the Rappahannock at Beverly and Kelly’s Fords. After a severe engagement, which continued from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, the enemy was compelled to recross the river with heavy loss, leaving about 500 prisoners, 3 pieces of artillery, and several colors in our hands.
General Imboden and General Jenkins had been ordered to cooperate in the projected expedition into the Valley, General Imboden by moving toward Romney with his command, to prevent the troops guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from re-enforcing those at Winchester, while General Jenkins advanced directly toward the latter place with his cavalry brigade, supported by a battalion of infantry and a battery of the Maryland Line.
General Ewell left Culpeper Court-House on June 10. He crossed the branches of the Shenandoah near Front Royal, and reached Cedarville on the 12th, where he was joined by General Jenkins. Detaching General Rodes with his division, and the greater part of Jenkins’ brigade, to dislodge a force of the enemy stationed at Berryville, General Ewell, with the rest of his command, moved upon Winchester. Johnson’s division advancing by the Front Royal road, Early’s by the Valley turnpike, which it entered at Newtown, where it was joined by the Maryland troops.
BATTLE OF WINCHESTER.
The enemy was driven in on both roads, and our troops halted in line of battle near the town on the evening of the 13th. The same <ar44_314> day the force which had occupied Berryville retreated to Winchester on the approach of General Rodes. The following morning, General Ewell ordered General Early to carry an intrenched position northwest of Winchester, near the Pughtown road, which the latter officer, upon examining the ground, discovered would command the principal fortifications.
To cover the movement of General Early, General Johnson took position between the road to Millwood and that to Berryville, and advanced his skirmishers toward the town. General Early, leaving a portion of his command to engage the enemy’s attention, with the remainder gained a favorable position without being perceived, and, about 5 p.m., twenty pieces of artillery, under Lieut. Col. H. P. Jones, opened suddenly upon the intrenchments. The enemy’s guns were soon silenced. Hays’ brigade then advanced to the assault, and carried the works by storm, capturing six rifled pieces, two of which were turned upon and dispersed a column which was forming to retake the position. The enemy immediately abandoned the works on the left of those taken by Hays, and retired into his main fortifications, which General Early prepared to assail in the morning. The loss of the advanced works, however, rendered the others untenable, and the enemy retreated in the night, abandoning his sick and wounded, together with his artillery, wagons, and stores. Anticipating such a movement, as soon as he heard of Early’s success, General Ewell directed General Johnson to occupy, with part of his command, a point on the Martinsburg road, about 2½ miles from Winchester, where he could either intercept the enemy’s retreat, or aid in an attack should further resistance be offered in the morning’. General Johnson marched with Nicholls’ and part of Steuart’s brigades, accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel [R. S.] Andrews with a detachment of his artillery, the Stonewall Brigade being ordered to follow. Finding the road to the place indicated by General Ewell difficult of passage in the darkness, General Johnson pursued that leading by Jordan Springs to Stephenson’s Depot, where he took a favorable position on the Martinsburg road, about 5 miles from Winchester. Just as his line was formed, the retreating column, consisting of the main body of General Milroy’s army, arrived, and immediately attacked him. The enemy, though in superior force, consisting of both infantry and cavalry, was gallantly repulsed, and, finding all efforts to cut his way unavailing, he sent strong flanking parties simultaneously to the right and left, still keeping up a heavy fire in front. The party on the right was driven back and pursued by the Stonewall Brigade, which opportunely arrived. That on the left was broken and dispersed by the Second and Tenth Louisiana Regiments, aided by the artillery, and in a short time nearly the whole infantry force, amounting to more than 2,300 men, with eleven stand of colors, surrendered, the cavalry alone escaping. General Milroy, with a small party of fugitives, fled to Harper’s Ferry. The number of prisoners taken in this action exceeded the force engaged under General Johnson, who speaks in terms of well-de-served praise of the conduct of the officers and men of his command.
In the meantime, General Rodes marched from Berryville to Martinsburg, reaching the latter place in the afternoon of the 14th. The enemy made a show of resistance, but soon gave way, the cavalry and artillery retreating toward Williamsport, the infantry toward Shepherdstown, under cover of night. The route taken by <ar44_315> the latter was not known until it was too late to follow; but the former were pursued so rapidly, Jenkins’ troops leading, that they were forced to abandon five of their six pieces of artillery. About 200 prisoners were taken, but the enemy destroyed most of his stores.
These operations resulted in the expulsion of the enemy from the Valley; the capture of 4,000 prisoners, with a corresponding number of small-arms; 28 pieces of superior artillery, including those taken by Generals Rodes and Hays; about 300 wagons and as many horses, together with a considerable quantity of ordnance, commissary, and quartermaster’s stores.
Our entire loss was 47 killed, 219 wounded, and 3 missing.
MARCH INTO PENNSYLVANIA.
On the night of Ewell’s appearance at Winchester, the enemy in front of A. P. Hill, at Fredericksburg, recrossed the Rappahannock, and the whole army of General Hooker withdrew from the north side of the river. In order to mislead him as to our intentions, and at the same time protect Hill’s corps in its march up the Rappahannock, Longstreet left Culpeper Court-House on the 15th, and, advancing along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge, occupied Ashby’s and Snicker’s Gaps. He had been joined, while at Culpeper, by General Pickett, with three brigades of his division. General Stuart, with three brigades of cavalry, moved on Longstreet’s right, and took position in front of the Gaps. Hampton’s and [W. E.]Jones’ brigades remained along the Rappahannock and Hazel Rivers, in front of Culpeper Court-House, with instructions to follow the main body as soon as Hill’s corps had passed that point.
On the 17th, Fitz. Lee’s brigade, under Colonel Munford, which was on the road to Snicker’s Gap, was attacked near Aldie by the Federal cavalry. The attack was repulsed with loss, and the brigade held its ground until ordered to fall back, its right being threatened by another body, coming from Hopewell toward Middleburg. The latter force was driven from Middleburg, and pursued toward Hopewell by Robertson’s brigade, which arrived about dark. Its retreat was intercepted by W. H. F. Lee’s brigade, under Colonel Chambliss, jr., and the greater part of a regiment captured.
During the three succeeding days there was much skirmishing, General Stuart taking a position west of Middleburg, where he awaited the rest of his command.
General Jones arrived on the 19th, and General Hampton in the afternoon of the following day, having repulsed, on his march, a cavalry force sent to reconnoiter in the direction of Warrenton.
On the 21st, the enemy attacked with infantry and cavalry, and obliged General Stuart, after a brave resistance, to fall back to the gaps of the mountains. The enemy retired the next day, having advanced only a short distance beyond Upperville.
In these engagements, the cavalry sustained a loss of 510 killed, wounded, and missing. Among them were several valuable officers, whose names are mentioned in General Stuart’s report. One piece of artillery was disabled and left on the field. The enemy’s loss was heavy. About 400 prisoners were taken and several stand of colors.
The Federal Army was apparently guarding the approaches to Washington, and manifested no disposition to assume the offensive.
In the meantime, the progress of Ewell, who was already in Maryland, with Jenkins’ cavalry advanced into Pennsylvania as far as <ar44_316> Chambersburg, rendered it necessary that the rest of the army should be within supporting distance, and Hill having reached the Valley, Longstreet was withdrawn to the west side of the Shenandoah, and the two corps encamped near Berryville.
General Stuart was directed to hold the mountain passes with part of his command as long as the enemy remained south of the Potomac, and, with the remainder, to cross into Maryland, and place himself on the right of General Ewell. Upon the suggestion of the former officer that he could damage the enemy and delay his passage of the river by getting in his rear, he was authorized to do so, and it was left to his discretion whether to enter Maryland east or west of the Blue Ridge; but he was instructed to lose no time in placing his command on the right of our column as soon as he should perceive the enemy moving northward.
On the 22d, General Ewell marched into Pennsylvania with Rodes’ and Johnson’s divisions, preceded by Jenkins’ cavalry, taking the road from Hagerstown, through Chambersburg, to Carlisle, where he arrived on the 27th. Early’s division, which had occupied Boons-borough, moved by a parallel road to Greenwood, and, in pursuance of instructions previously given to General Ewell, marched toward York.
On the 24th, Longstreet and Hill were put in motion to follow Ewell, and, on the 27th, encamped near Chambersburg.
General Imboden, under the orders before referred to, had been operating on Ewell’s left while the latter was advancing into Maryland. He drove off the troops guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and destroyed all the important bridges on that route from Martinsburg to Cumberland, besides inflicting serious damage upon the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. He was at Hancock when Longstreet and Hill reached Chambersburg, and was directed to proceed to the latter place by way of McConnellsburg, collecting supplies for the army on his route.
The cavalry force at this time with the army, consisting of Jenkins’ brigade and [E. V.]White’s battalion, was not greater than was required to accompany the advance of General Ewell and General Early, with whom it performed valuable service, as appears from their reports. It was expected that as soon as the Federal Army should cross the Potomac, General Stuart would give notice of its movements, and nothing having been heard from him since our entrance into Maryland, it was inferred that the enemy had not yet left Virginia. Orders were, therefore, issued to move upon Harrisburg. The expedition of General Early to York was designed in part to prepare for this undertaking by breaking the railroad between Baltimore and Harrisburg, and seizing the bridge over the Susquehanna at Wrightsville. General Early succeeded in the first object, destroying a number of bridges above and below York, but on the approach of the troops sent by him to Wrightsville, a body of militia stationed at that place fled across the river and burned the bridge in their retreat. General Early then marched to rejoin his corps.
The advance against Harrisburg was arrested by intelligence received from a scout on the night of the 28th, to the effect that the army of General Hooker had crossed the Potomac, and was approaching the South Mountain. In the absence of the cavalry, it was impossible to ascertain his intentions; but to deter him from advancing farther west, and intercepting our communication with Virginia, it was determined to concentrate the army east of the mountains. <ar44_317>
BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG.
Hill’s corps was accordingly ordered to move toward Cashtown on the 29th, and Longstreet to follow the next day, leaving Pickett’s division at Chambersburg to guard the rear until relieved by Imboden. General Ewell was recalled from Carlisle, and directed to join the army at Cashtown or Gettysburg, as circumstances might require. The advance of the enemy to the latter place was unknown, and the weather being inclement, the march was conducted with a view to the comfort of the troops. Heth’s division reached Cashtown on the 29th, and the following morning Pettigrew’s brigade, sent by General Heth to procure supplies at Gettysburg, found it occupied by the enemy. Being ignorant of the extent of his force, General Pettigrew was unwilling to hazard an attack with his single brigade, and returned to Cashtown.
General Hill arrived with Pender’s division in the evening, and the following morning (July 1) advanced with these two divisions, accompanied by Pegram’s and McIntosh’s battalions of artillery, to ascertain the strength of the enemy, whose force was supposed to consist chiefly of cavalry. The leading division, under General Heth, found the enemy’s vedettes about 3 miles west of Gettysburg, and continued to advance until within a mile of the town, when two brigades were sent forward to reconnoiter. They drove in the advance of the enemy very gallantly, but subsequently encountered largely superior numbers, and were compelled to retire with loss, Brigadier-General Archer, commanding one of the brigades, being taken prisoner. General Heth then prepared for action, and as soon as Pender arrived to support him, was ordered by General Hill to advance. The artillery was placed in position, and the engagement opened with vigor. General Heth pressed the enemy steadily back, breaking his first and second lines, and attacking his third with great resolution. About 2.30 p.m. the advance of Ewell’s corps, consisting of Rodes’ division, with Carter’s battalion of artillery, arrived by the Middletown road, and, forming on Heth’s left, nearly at right angles with his line, became warmly engaged with fresh numbers of the enemy. Heth’s troops, having suffered heavily in their protracted contest with a superior force, were relieved by Pender’s, and Early, coming up by the Heidlersburg road soon afterward, took position on the left of Rodes, when a general advance was made.
The enemy gave way on all sides, and was driven through Gettysburg with great loss. Major-General Reynolds, who was in command, was killed. More than 5,000 prisoners, exclusive of a large number of wounded, three pieces of artillery, and several colors were captured. Among the prisoners were two brigadier-generals, one of whom was badly wounded. Our own loss was heavy, including a number of officers, among whom were Major-General Heth, slightly, and Brigadier-General Scales, of Pender’s division, severely, wounded. The enemy retired to a range of hills south of Gettysburg, where he displayed a strong force of infantry and artillery.
It was ascertained from the prisoners that we had been engaged with two corps of the army formerly commanded by General Hooker, and that the remainder of that army, under General Meade, was approaching Gettysburg. Without information as to its proximity, the strong position which the enemy had assumed could not be attacked without danger of exposing the four divisions present, already weakened and exhausted by a long and bloody struggle, to <ar44_318> overwhelming numbers of fresh troops. General Ewell was, therefore, instructed to carry the hill occupied by the enemy, if he found it practicable, but to avoid a general engagement until the arrival of the other divisions of the army, which were ordered to hasten forward. He decided to await Johnson’s division, which had marched from Carlisle by the road west of the mountains to guard the trains of his corps, and consequently did not reach Gettysburg until a late hour.
In the meantime the enemy occupied the point which General Ewell designed to seize, but in what force could not be ascertained, owing to the darkness. An intercepted dispatch showed that another corps had halted that afternoon 4 miles from Gettysburg. Under these circumstances, it was decided not to attack until the arrival of Longstreet, two of whose divisions (those of Hood and McLaws) encamped about 4 miles in the rear during the night. Anderson’s division of Hill’s corps came up after the engagement.
It had not been intended to deliver a general battle so far from our base unless attacked, but coming unexpectedly upon the whole Federal Army, to withdraw through the mountains with our extensive trains would have been difficult and dangerous. At the same time we were unable to await an attack, as the country was unfavorable for collecting supplies in the presence of the enemy, who could restrain our foraging parties by holding the mountain passes with local and other troops. A battle had, therefore, become in a measure unavoidable, and the success already gained gave hope of a favorable issue.
The enemy occupied a strong position, with his right upon two commanding elevations adjacent to each other, one southeast and the other, known as Cemetery Hill, immediately south of the town, which lay at its base. His line extended thence upon the high ground along the Emmitsburg road, with a steep ridge in rear, which was also occupied. This ridge was difficult of ascent, particularly the two hills above mentioned as forming its northern extremity, and a third at the other end, on which the enemy’s left rested. Numerous stone and rail fences along the slope served to afford protection to his troops and impede our advance. In his front, the ground was undulating and generally open for about three-quarters of a mile.
General Ewell’s corps constituted our left, Johnson’s division being opposite the height adjoining Cemetery Hill, Early’s in the center, in front of the north face of the latter, and Rodes upon his right. Hill’s corps faced the west side of Cemetery Hill, and extended nearly parallel to the Emmitsburg road, making an angle with Ewell’s, Pender’s division formed his left, Anderson’s his right, Heth’s, under Brigadier-General Pettigrew, being in reserve. His artillery, under Colonel [R. L.] Walker, was posted in eligible positions along his line.
It was determined to make the principal attack upon the enemy’s left, and endeavor to gain a position from which it was thought that our artillery could be brought to bear with effect. Longstreet was directed to place the divisions of McLaws and Hood on the right of Hill, partially enveloping the enemy’s left, which he was to drive in.
General Hill was ordered to threaten the enemy’s center, to prevent re-enforcements being drawn to either wing, and co-operate with his right division in Longstreet’s attack.
General Ewell was instructed to make a simultaneous demonstration <ar44_319> upon the enemy’s right, to be converted into a real attack should opportunity offer.
About 4 p.m. Longstreet’s batteries opened, and soon afterward Hood’s division, on the extreme right, moved to the attack. McLaws followed somewhat later, four of Anderson’s brigades, those of Wilcox, Perry, [A. R.] Wright, and Posey supporting him on the left, in the order named. The enemy was soon driven from his position on the Emmitsburg road to the cover of a ravine and a line of stone fences at the foot of the ridge in his rear. He was dislodged from these after a severe struggle, and retired up the ridge, leaving a number of his batteries in our possession. Wilcox’s and Wright’s brigades advanced with great gallantry, breaking successive lines of the enemy’s infantry, and compelling him to abandon much of his artillery. Wilcox reached the foot and Wright gained the crest of the ridge itself, driving the enemy down the opposite side; but having become separated from McLaws and gone beyond the other two brigades of the division, they were attacked in front and on both flanks, and compelled to retire, being unable to bring off any of the captured artillery. McLaws’ left also fell back, and, it being now nearly dark, General Longstreet determined to await the arrival of General Pickett. He disposed his command to hold the ground gained on the right, withdrawing his left to the first position from which the enemy had been driven.
Four pieces of artillery, several hundred prisoners, and two regimental flags were taken. As soon as the engagement began on our right, General Johnson opened with his artillery, and about two hours later advanced up the hill next to Cemetery Hill with three brigades, the fourth being detained by a demonstration on his left. Soon afterward, General Early attacked Cemetery Hill with two brigades, supported by a third, the fourth having been previously detached. The enemy had greatly increased by earthworks the strength of the positions assailed by Johnson and Early.
The troops of the former moved steadily up the steep and rugged ascent, under a heavy fire, driving the enemy into his intrenchments, part of which was carried by Steuart’s brigade, and a number of prisoners taken. The contest was continued to a late hour, but without further advantage. On Cemetery Hill, the attack by Early’s leading brigades–those of Hays and Hoke, under Colonel [I. E.] Avery–was made with vigor. Two lines of the enemy’s infantry were dislodged from the cover of some stone and board fences on the side of the ascent, and driven back into the works on the crest, into which our troops forced their way, and seized several pieces of artillery.
A heavy force advanced against their right, which was without support, and they were compelled to retire, bringing with them about 100 prisoners and four stand of colors. General Ewell had directed General Rodes to attack in concert with Early, covering his right, and had requested Brigadier-General Lane, then commanding Pender’s division, to co-operate on the right of Rodes. When the time to attack arrived, General Rodes, not having his troops in position, was unprepared to co-operate with General Early, and before he could get in readiness the latter had been obliged to retire for want of the expected support on his right. General Lane was prepared to give the assistance required of him, and so informed General Rodes, but the latter deemed it useless to advance after the failure of Early’s attack. <ar44_320>
In this engagement our loss in men and officers was large. Major-Generals Hood and Pender, Brigadier-Generals [J. M.] Jones, Semmes, G. T. Anderson, and Barksdale, and Colonel Avery, commanding Hoke’s brigade, were wounded, the last two mortally. Generals Pender and Semmes died after their removal to Virginia.
The result of this day’s operations induced the belief that, with proper concert of action, and with the increased support that the positions gained on the right would enable the artillery to render the assaulting columns, we should ultimately succeed, and it was accordingly determined to continue the attack. The general plan was unchanged. Longstreet, re-enforced by Pickett’s three brigades, which arrived near the battle-field during the afternoon of the 2d, was ordered to attack the next morning, and General Ewell was directed to assail the enemy’s right at the same time. The latter, during the night, re-enforced General Johnson with two brigades from Rodes’ and one from Early’s division.
General Longstreet’s dispositions were not completed as early as was expected, but before notice could be sent to General Ewell, General Johnson had already become engaged, and it was too late to recall him. The enemy attempted to recover the works taken the preceding evening, but was repulsed, and General Johnson attacked in turn.
After a gallant and prolonged struggle, in which the enemy was forced to abandon part of his intrenchments, General Johnson found himself unable to carry the strongly fortified crest of the hill. The projected attack on the enemy’s left not having been made, he was enabled to hold his right with a force largely superior to that of General Johnson, and finally to threaten his flank and rear, rendering it necessary for him to retire to his original position about l p.m.
General Longstreet was delayed by a force occupying the high, rocky hills on the enemy’s extreme left, from which his troops could be attacked in reverse as they advanced. His operations had been embarrassed the day previous by the same cause, and he now deemed it necessary to defend his flank and rear with the divisions of Hood and McLaws. He was, therefore, re-enforced by Heth’s division and two brigades of Pender’s, to the command of which Major-General Trimble was assigned. General Hill was directed to hold his line with the rest of his command, afford General Longstreet further assistance, if required, and avail himself of any success that might be gained.
A careful examination was made of the ground secured by Longstreet, and his batteries placed in positions, which, it was believed, would enable them to silence those of the enemy. Hill s artillery and part of Ewell’s was ordered to open simultaneously, and the assaulting column to advance under cover of the combined fire of the three. The batteries were directed to be pushed forward as the infantry progressed, protect their flanks, and support their attacks closely.
About 1 p.m., at a given signal, a heavy cannonade was opened, and continued for about two hours with marked effect upon the enemy. His batteries replied vigorously at first, but toward the close their fire slackened perceptibly, and General Longstreet ordered forward the column of attack, consisting of Pickett’s and Heth’s divisions, in two lines, Pickett on the right. Wilcox’s brigade marched in rear of Pickett’s right, to guard that flank, and Heth s was supported by Lane’s and Scales’ brigades, under General Trimble. <ar44_321>
The troops moved steadily on, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, the main attack being directed against the enemy’s left center.
His batteries reopened as soon as they appeared. Our own having nearly exhausted their ammunition in the protracted cannonade that preceded the advance of the infantry, were unable to reply, or render the necessary support to the attacking party. Owing to this fact, which was unknown to me when the assault took place, the enemy was enabled to throw a strong force of infantry against our left, already wavering under a concentrated fire of artillery from the ridge in front, and from Cemetery Hill, on the left. It finally gave way, and the right, after penetrating the enemy’s lines, entering his advance works, and capturing some of his artillery, was attacked simultaneously in front and on both flanks, and driven back with heavy loss.
The troops were rallied and reformed, but the enemy did not pursue.
A large number of brave officers and men fell or were captured on this occasion. Of Pickett’s three brigade commanders, Generals Armistead and [R. B.] Garnett were killed, and General Kemper dangerously wounded.
Major-General Trimble and Brigadier-General Pettigrew were also wounded, the former severely.
The movements of the army preceding the battle of Gettysburg had been much embarrassed by the absence of the cavalry. As soon as it was known that the enemy had crossed into Maryland, orders were sent to the brigades of [B. H.] Robertson and [William E.] Jones, which had been left to guard the passes of the Blue Ridge, to rejoin the army without delay, and it was expected that General Stuart, with the remainder of his command, would soon arrive. In the exercise of the discretion given him when Longstreet and Hill marched into Maryland, General Stuart determined to pass around the rear of the Federal Army with three brigades and cross the Potomac between it and Washington, believing that he would be able, by that route, to place himself on our right flank in time to keep us properly advised of the enemy’s movements. He marched from Salem on the night of June 24, intending to pass west of Centreville, but found the enemy’s forces so distributed as to render that route impracticable. Adhering to his original plan, he was forced to make a wide detour through Buckland and Brentsville, and crossed the Occoquan at Wolf Run Shoals on the morning of the 27th. Continuing his march through Fairfax Court-House and Dranesville, he arrived at the Potomac, below the mouth of Seneca Creek, in the evening.
He found the river much swollen by the recent rains, but, after great exertion, gained the Maryland shore before midnight with his whole command.
He now ascertained that the Federal Army, which he had discovered to be drawing toward the Potomac, had crossed the day before, and was moving toward Frederick, thus interposing itself between him and our forces.
He accordingly marched northward, through Rockville and Westminster, to Hanover, Pa., where he arrived on the 30th; but the enemy advanced with equal rapidity on his left, and continued to obstruct communication with our main body.
Supposing, from such information as he could obtain, that part of «21 R R–VOL XXVII, PT II» <ar44_322> the army was at Carlisle, he left Hanover that night, and proceeded thither by way of Dover.
He reached Carlisle on July 1, where he received orders to proceed to Gettysburg. He arrived in the afternoon of the following day, and took position on General Ewell’s left. His leading brigade, under General Hampton, encountered and repulsed a body of the enemy’s cavalry at Hunterstown, endeavoring to reach our rear.
General Stuart had several skirmishes during his march, and at Hanover quite a severe engagement took place with a strong force of cavalry, which was finally compelled to withdraw from the town. The prisoners taken by the cavalry and paroled at various places amounted to about 800, and at Rockville a large train of wagons coming from Washington was intercepted and captured. Many of them were destroyed, but 125, with all the animals of the train, were secured.
The ranks of the cavalry were much reduced by its long and arduous march, repeated conflicts, and insufficient supplies of food and forage, but the day after its arrival at Gettysburg it engaged the enemy’s cavalry with unabated spirit, and effectually protected our left.
In this action, Brigadier-General Hampton was seriously wounded, while acting with his accustomed gallantry.
Robertson’s and Jones’ brigades arrived on July 3, and were stationed upon our right flank. The severe loss sustained by the army and the reduction of its ammunition, rendered another attempt to dislodge the enemy inadvisable, and it was, therefore, determined to withdraw.
The trains, with such of the wounded as could bear removal, were ordered to Williamsport on July 4, part moving through Cashtown and Greencastle, escorted by General Imboden, and the remainder by the Fairfield road.
The army retained its position until dark, when it was put in motion for the Potomac by the last-named route.
A heavy rain continued throughout the night, and so much impeded its progress that Ewell’s corps, which brought up the rear, did not leave Gettysburg until late in the forenoon of the following day. The enemy offered no serious interruption, and, after an arduous march, we arrived at Hagerstown in the afternoon of the 6th and morning of July 7.
The great length of our trains made it difficult to guard them effectually in passing through the mountains, and a number of wagons and ambulances were captured. They succeeded in reaching Williamsport on the 6th, but were unable to cross the Potomac on account of the high stage of water. Here they were attacked by a strong force of cavalry and artillery, which was gallantly repulsed by General Imboden, whose command had been strengthened by several batteries and by two regiments of infantry, which had been detached at Winchester to guard prisoners, and were returning to the army.
While the enemy was being held in check, General Stuart arrived with the cavalry, which had performed valuable service in guarding the flanks of the army during the retrograde movement, and, after a short engagement, drove him from the field. The rains that had prevailed almost without intermission since our entrance into Maryland, and greatly interfered with our movements, had made the Potomac <ar44_323> unfordable, and the pontoon bridge left at Falling Waters had been partially destroyed by the enemy. The wounded and prisoners were sent over the river as rapidly as possible in a few ferry-boats, while the trains awaited the subsiding of the waters and the construction of a new pontoon bridge.
On July 8, the enemy’s cavalry advanced toward Hagerstown, but was repulsed by General Stuart, and pursued as far as Boonsborough.
With this exception, nothing but occasional skirmishing occurred until the 12th, when the main body of the enemy arrived. The army then took a position previously selected, covering the Potomac from Williamsport to Falling Waters, where it remained for two days, with the enemy immediately in front, manifesting no disposition to attack, but throwing up intrenchments along his whole line.
By the 13th, the river at Williamsport, though still deep, was ford-able, and a good bridge was completed at Falling Waters, new boats having being constructed and some of the old recovered. As further delay would enable the enemy to obtain re-enforcements, and as it was found difficult to procure a sufficient supply of flour for the troops, the working of the mills being interrupted by high water, it was determined to await an attack no longer.
Orders were accordingly given to cross the Potomac that night, Ewell’s corps by the ford at Williamsport, and those of Longstreet and Hill on the bridge.
The cavalry was directed to relieve the infantry skirmishers, and bring up the rear.
The movement was much retarded by a severe rain storm and the darkness of the night. Ewell’s corps, having the advantage of a turnpike road, marched with less difficulty, and crossed the river by 8 o’clock the following morning. The condition of the road to the bridge and the time consumed in the passage of the artillery, ammunition wagons, and ambulances, which could not ford the river, so much delayed the progress of Longstreet and Hill, that it was daylight before their troops began to cross. Heth’s division was halted about a mile and a half from the bridge, to protect the passage of the column. No interruption was offered by the enemy until about 11 a.m., when his cavalry, supported by artillery, appeared in front of General Heth.
A small number in advance of the main body was mistaken for our own cavalry retiring, no notice having been given of the withdrawal of the latter, and was suffered to approach our lines. They were immediately destroyed or captured, with the exception of two or three, but Brigadier-General Pettigrew, an officer of great merit and promise, was mortally wounded in the encounter. He survived his removal to Virginia only a few days.
The bridge being clear, General Heth began to withdraw. The enemy advanced, but his efforts to break our lines were repulsed, and the passage of the river was completed by 1 p.m. ()wing to the extent of General Heth’s line, some of his men most remote from the bridge were cut off before they could reach it, but the greater part of those taken by the enemy during the movement (supposed to amount in all to about 500) consisted of men from various commands who lingered behind, overcome by previous labors and hardships, and the fatigue of a most trying night march. There was no loss of materiel excepting a few broken wagons and two pieces of artillery, which the horses were unable to draw through the deep mud. Other <ar44_324> horses were sent back for them, but the rear of the column had passed before their arrival.
The army proceeded to the vicinity of Bunker Hill and Darkesville, where it halted to afford the troops repose. The enemy made no effort to follow excepting with his cavalry, which crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry, and advanced toward Martinsburg on July 16.
They were attacked by General Fitz. Lee, with his own and Chambliss’ brigades, and driven back with loss. When the army returned to Virginia, it was intended to move into Loudoun, but the Shenandoah was found to be impassable. While waiting for it to subside, the enemy crossed the Potomac east of the Blue Ridge, and seized the passes we designed to use. As he continued to advance along the eastern slope, apparently with the purpose of cutting us off from the railroad to Richmond, General Longstreet was ordered, on July 19, to proceed to Culpeper Court-House, by way of Front Royal. He succeeded in passing part of his command over the Shenandoah in time to prevent the occupation of Manassas and Chester Gaps by the enemy, whose cavalry had already made its appearance.
As soon as a pontoon bridge could be laid down, the rest of his corps crossed the river, and marched through Chester Gap to Culpeper Court-House, where it arrived on the 24th. He was followed without serious opposition by General A. P. Hill.
General Ewell having been detained in the Valley by an effort to capture a force of the enemy guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad west of Martinsburg, Wright’s brigade was left to hold Manassas Gap until his arrival. He reached Front Royal on the 23d, with Johnson’s and Rodes’ divisions, Early’s being near Winchester, and found General Wright skirmishing with the enemy’s infantry, which had already appeared in Manassas Gap. General Ewell supported Wright with Rodes’ division and some artillery, and the enemy was held in check.
Finding that the Federal force Greatly exceeded his own, General Ewell marched through Thornton s Gap, and ordered Early to move up the Valley by Strasburg and New Market. He encamped near Madison Court-House on July 29.
The enemy massed his army in the vicinity of Warrenton, and, on the night of July 31, his cavalry, with a large supporting force of infantry, crossed the Rappahannock at Rappahannock Station and Kelly’s Ford.
The next day they advanced toward Brandy Station, their progress being gallantly resisted by General Stuart with Hampton’s brigade, commanded by Colonel [L. S.]Baker, who fell back gradually to our lines, about 2 miles south of Brandy. Our infantry skirmishers advanced, and drove the enemy beyond Brandy Station. It was now determined to place the army in a position to enable it more readily to oppose the enemy should he attempt to move southward, that near Culpeper Court-House being one that he could easily avoid. Longstreet and Hill were put in motion August 3, leaving the cavalry at Culpeper.
Ewell had been previously ordered from Madison, and, by the 4th, the army occupied the line of the Rapidan.
The highest praise is due to both officers and men for their conduct during the campaign. The privations and hardships of the march and camp were cheerfully encountered, and borne with a fortitude <ar44_325> unsurpassed by our ancestors in their struggle for independence, while their courage in battle entitles them to rank with the soldiers of any army and of any time. Their forbearance and discipline, under strong provocation to retaliate for the cruelty of the enemy to our own citizens, is not their least claim to the respect and admiration of their countrymen and of the world.
I forward returns of our loss in killed, wounded, and missing. Many of the latter were killed or wounded in the several assaults at Gettysburg, and necessarily left in the hands of the enemy. I cannot speak of these brave men as their merits and exploits deserve. Some of them are appropriately mentioned in the accompanying reports, and the memory of all will be gratefully and affectionately cherished by the people in whose defense they fell.
The loss of Major-General-Pender is severely felt by the army and the country. He served with this army from the beginning of the war, and took a distinguished part in all its engagements. Wounded on several occasions, he never left his command in action until he received the injury that resulted in his death. His promise and usefulness as an officer were only equaled by the purity and excellence of his private life.
Brigadier-Generals Armistead, Barksdale, Garnett, and Semmes died as they had lived, discharging the highest duty of patriots with devotion that never faltered and courage that shrank from no danger.
I earnestly commend to the attention of the Government those gallant officers and men whose conduct merited the special commendation of their superiors, but whose names I am unable to mention in this report.
The officers of the general staff of the army were unremittingly engaged in the duties of their respective departments. Much depended on their management and exertion. The labors of the quartermaster’s, commissary, and medical departments were more than usually severe. The inspectors-general were also laboriously occupied in their attention to the troops, both on the march and in camp, and the officers of engineers showed skill and judgment in expediting the passage of rivers and streams, the swollen condition of which, by almost continuous rains, called for extraordinary exertion.
The chief of ordnance and his assistants are entitled to praise for the care and watchfulness given to the ordnance trains and ammunition of the army, which, in a long march and in many conflicts, were always at hand and accessible to the troops.
My thanks are due to my personal staff for their constant aid afforded me at all times, on the march and in the field, and their willing discharge of every duty.
There were captured at Gettysburg nearly 7,000 prisoners, of whom about 1,500 were paroled, and the remainder brought to Virginia. Seven pieces of artillery were also secured.
I forward herewith the reports of the corps, division, and other commanders mentioned in the accompanying schedule,(*) together with maps(+) of the scene of operations, and one showing the routes pursued by the army.
R. E. LEE,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
JOINT RESOLUTION of thanks to General Robert E. Lee, and to the officers and soldiers under his command.
Whereas the campaigns of the brave and gallant armies covering the capital of the Confederate States during the two successive years of 1862 and 1863, under the leadership and command of General Robert E. Lee, have been crowned with glorious results, defeating greatly superior forces massed by the enemy for the conquest of these States, repelling the invaders with immense losses, and twice transferring the battle-field from our own country to that of the enemy;
And whereas the masterly and glorious achievements, rendering forever memorable the fields of the “Seven Days of Great Battles,” which raised the siege of Richmond, as well as those of Cedar Run, Second Manassas, Harper’s Ferry, Boonsborough, Sharpsburg, Shepherdstown, Fredericksburg, Winchester, Gettysburg, and Chancel-lorsville, command the admiration and gratitude of our country;
And whereas these and other illustrious services rendered by this able commander since the commencement of our war of independence have especially endeared him to the hearts of his countrymen, and have imposed on Congress the grateful duty of giving expression to their feelings: Therefore,
Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due and are tendered to General Robert E. Lee, and to the officers and soldiers of the Confederate armies under his command, for the great and signal victories they have won over the vast hosts of the enemy, and for the inestimable services they have rendered in defense of the liberty and independence of our country.
Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate these resolutions to General Robert E. Lee, and to the officers and soldiers herein designated.
Approved January 8, 1864.