Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
MEADE AT GETTYSBURG.
With the exception of the Rummel farm buildings, the Confederates held virtually the same line at dark that they held in the morning but this did not include the field of the main engagement. This was no mere reconnoissance to develop the position or movements of the enemy. Stuart had with him the main strength and the flower of the Confederate cavalry, led by their most distinguished commanders. His force comprised 4 brigades with 20 regiments and battalions and 4 batteries. His avowed object was to strike the rear of the Federal army in cooperation with Pickett's grand attack upon its center. For this movement he succeeded in attaining a most commanding position, and, according to the surmise of Major H. B. McClellan, Stuart's adjutant-general, gave to Lee the preconcerted signal for the attack. The field of this cavalry fight was south of the Rummel buildings. To this field Stuart advanced his whole force, engaged in an obstinate and desperate struggle with the Federal cavalry, was driven back out of the field and forced to retire to his original position. At the opening of the engagement they were advanced to its northern side. The losses on both sides show the importance and determined character of the fight. @@
MEADE AT GETTYSBURG.
There is probably no other battle of which men are so prone to think and speak without a conscious reference to the commanding general of the victorious party, as they are regarding Gettysburg. For this there are several reasons.
First, General Meade had been in command of the army but there days when the action began.
Second, the collision of the two armies on the 1st of July took place while headquarters were at a distance.
Third, the battle, on the Union side, was a defensive one. The sword is ever of higher honor than the shield.
Fourth, the fact that the Union army occupied a convex line, broke up the battles of the 2d and 3d of July into a series of actions, regarding which in was inevitable that attention should be fixed especially upon those who commanded at the point successively assaulted.
Fifth, the fact that so many eminent officers were killed or severely wounded during the left wing, was killed at the first onset. Hancock, the commander of the left center; Sickles, the commander of the Third Corps, and Gibbon, commanding, in Hancock's absence, the Second, were desperately wounded. Such an unusual succession of casualties could not fail to have an effect in distracting attention from the commander-in-chief.
Sixth, the people of the North have ever loved to think of Gettysburg as a soldier's battle. In a great measure the wish has been father to the thought. But, indeed, there was something in the