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War between the States
The Battle of Gettysburg - Converging on Gettysburg


On June 3, the Army of Northern Virginia moved from Fredericksburg to Culpeper. Left to defend the city of Fredericksburg from the entire Union army was A.P. Hill with three divisions. Union balloonists reported the movement of Lee’s army, and General Hooker contemplated taking the vulnerable city. On June 5-6 Hooker sent Sedgwick across the Rappahannock River to test Confederate strength. Sedgwick reported the position strongly defended. Meanwhile, at Brandy Station, Stuart held a grand review of Confederate cavalry. Stuart repeated the ceremony two days later for General Lee. News of the extravagant reviews reached the Union army, and on July 9, Hooker sent Pleasonton with 11,000 cavalry to Culpeper on a reconnaissance mission. The Union forces caught Stuart off guard at Brandy Station. There they fought the largest cavalry battle of the war. Having accomplished his mission, Pleasonton withdrew with his cavalry and reported to Hooker a concentration of the Confederate army around Culpeper. Hooker recommended an attack on the remaining divisions of the Confederate army and move farther South to Richmond. He would “swap queens” by taking Richmond, and leaving Washington to Lee. Lincoln rejected Hooker’s proposal arguing that “Lee’s army, and not Richmond, is your true objective point.”

Stuart’s image was hurt by the Battle at Brandy Station.

By June 28, two of Lee’s corps were at Chambersburg; Jubal Early with one division of Ewell’s corps was at York, and the rest was near Harrisburg. Stuart was somewhere in Maryland. The absence of Stuart and his cavalry to be his “eyes and ears,” deprived General Lee of movements and positions of the Union army. Lee constantly asked his officers “Can you tell me where General Stuart is?” or “Where on earth is my cavalry?” Meanwhile, Stuart and the cavalry was attempting to rejoin Lee’s army, and he encountered upon a train of Federal wagons at Rockville. During his pursuit of the Federal wagons, Stuart came extremely close to Washington and caused great alarm to the city. In the end, Stuart captured 125 wagons loaded with sugar, bacon, hams, hardtack, and bottled whiskey. With the wagons which slowed down his pace, Stuart continued his movement north.

Lee’s intelligence information came from a spy named Harrison. The spy brought news that the Union army had already crossed the Potomac and was at Frederick, and Meade was the new commander. Lee thought the Army of the Potomac was still in Virginia and was shocked at how close the enemy was. Immediately, Lee ordered his army to concentrate around Cashtown, 9 miles west of Gettysburg.

Heth arrived at Cashtown on the 29th and on the next day, he sent Pettigrew’s brigade to Gettysburg to get a rumored supply of shoes. On the same day, Major General John Buford, entered Gettysburg and recognized its strategic importance. Gettysburg was located at an intersection of a dozen roads. Buford placed Colonel Devlin’s brigade north of Gettysburg, and Gamble’s brigade west of Gettysburg. As Pettigrew was advancing to the small town, he discovered a John Buford’s Federal cavalry and returned to Cashtown.

Confederate General Heth didn’t believe there was a large number of Union forces in the area, and Union Colonel Devlin didn’t believe there was a large number of Confederate forces in the area. But Buford said “They will attack you in the morning and they will come booming-skirmishers three deep. You will have to fight like the devil until support arrives.” Despite Lee’s orders not to bring on a battle until the entire army was united, Heth wanted to enter Gettysburg. So he went to A.P. Hill for permission.

Heth said “If there is no objection, I will take my division tomorrow and go to Gettysburg and get those shoes.”

“None at all,” A.P. Hill replied.

On the night of June 30, the Confederate army was concentrated around Gettysburg, while General Meade and the artillery reserve was at Taneytown, the First Corps at Marsh Run, the Second at Uniontown, Third at Bridgeport, Fifth at Union Mills, Sixth at Manchester, Eleventh at Emmitsburg, Twelfth at Littlestown, and Kilpatrick’s cavalry at Hanover.

Union Intelligence Report
General Haupt to Baltimore & Washington
Information just received, 12:45 A.M., leads to the belief that the concentration of the forces of the enemy will be at Gettysburg rather than Chambersburg. The movement on their part is very rapid and hurried. They returned from Carlisle in the direction of Gettysburg by way of the Petersburg pike. Firing about Petersburg and Dillsburg this p.m. continued some hours. Meade should by all means be informed, and be prepared for a sudden attack from Lee’s whole army.

Captured Confederate Message
J.A. Early, Major General to a colonel Get between Gettysburg and Heidlersburg, and picket at Mummasburg and Hunterstown. Send in the direction of Gettysburg, and see what is there, and report to General Ewell at Heidlersburg. A small body of Yankee cavalry has made its appearance between Gettysburg and Heidlersburg. See what it is.

That night, Meade ordered the First Corps to Gettysburg, the Eleventh to supporting distance of the First, and the Twelfth to Two Taverns, five miles southeast of Gettysburg.


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