War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0107 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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with him, provided he is not found in a very strong position, where the natural and artificial obstacles to be overcome are such that, with inferior or equal numbers on his part, the advantages referred to in reality make him my superior. This, of course, can only be tested or settled by an advance and coming in contact with him. The information as to the enemy's position and movements, as previously reported, is very meager and contradictory. I have still to rely on my own judgment and reasoning, which is, as before stated, that he will be found prepared to dispute the passage of the Rapidan, represented to be a very strong line for defense. With my pontoon bridges, the probabilities are, that, avoiding the fords, where, of course, he will be prepared to receive me, I shall be able to find some point where the commanding heights being on my side, with my artillery in position, I can force a passage; and the river once passed, his line becomes untenable. To do this, however, will require the whole force I have at present. Indeed, if it were practicable, I should desire an increase, as I shall to leave in my rear a large detachment to guard my depots and communications. To conclude, therefore, in my judgment, if there were no other considerations than the relative strength and position of the two armies, I should favor an advance. Of course, you and the President will be governed by such other considerations as may exist, and your decision, when communicated, will be promptly and strictly complied with. Presuming, for the purposes of this paper, that it is decided not to advance, the question then arises what course is to be pursued. In your telegram of 2. 30 p. m. of yesterday, you indicate holding the line of the Upper Rappahannock. I have to say, in regard to this line, that I do not consider it as offering any particular advantage, as at low stages of water the river is fordable in so many places, and with pontoon trains, which the enemy are known to possess, he can cross where it is not fordable. Hence, it will be impossible, supposing he assumes the offensive, to prevent his turning my flanks, or, as I propose to do at the Rapidan, forcing a passage at some point where he can get the command for his artillery on his side. This will, however, in a measure depend on my strength, which can only be known after you have decided how much of my force you will withdraw. There is one consideration to which your attention is called, and that is, in case I do not advance, what probability there is that you will be enabled to re-enforce this army more rapidly than the enemy will be his. Our past experience has shown a fertility of resource and a power over his people in bringing out men which leads me to fear that in this respect a delay will be more advantageous to him than to us, notwithstanding the exhaustion and discontent which it is known the war has produces in his country. I shall not make any movement under existing circumstances till your views and wishes are sent to me.


Major General.


July 30, 1863.

Major-General MEADE,

Warrenton, Va.:

Four regiments of infantry {not New York or Pennsylvania

will be immediately sent from the Army of the Potomac to New York