War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0134 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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of his own chief of artillery, General Hunt, who concurred in all the suggestions of the commander of the Third Corps. Without meaning to injustice to General Meade, it must be admitted that his report of this great battle is at such variance with all the statements which have appeared in the press, that it is due not only to history, but to the indomitable prowess of our heroic army, that every fact sustained by concurrent testimony should be given in order to fully establish the truth. I reserve for any suitable occasion abundant documentary evidence to support the facts furnished. On Saturday, July 4, both armies continued to face each other during the entire day, without either manifesting a disposition to attack. "The enemy, " says Meade, "drew back his left flank, but maintained his position in front of our left, " as if always conscious that our vulnerable point was there, and they were loth to retire from it. On the night of the 4th, Lee, finding his ammunition exhausted and his subsistence imperiled, decided to withdraw, and he began his retreat toward Williamsport, with 4, 000 of our prisoners and all his immense trains. On the morning of the 5th, this event became known, and General Meade dispatched the Sixth Corps in pursuit, together with some squadrons of cavalry. "The 5th and 6th of July were employed, ' says Meade's report, 'in succoring the wounded and burying the dead. " The enemy made good use of all this precious time in pushing on toward Williamsport as rapidly as possible; and it was fortunate for them that detachments were not detailed for these solemn and affecting duties and that our whole army was not launched in prompt and eager pursuit. They were burdened with heavy trains filled with plunder, without ammunition, and woefully demoralized. Had the half of our army, flushed with success, fallen on them in flank or rear, or anywhere or anyhow, General Lee might have got across the Potomac, but his army never. "The trains, with the wounded and prisoners, " says Lee's report, "were compelled to await at Williamsport {about the 8th of July

the subsiding of the river and the construction of boats. * * * The enemy had not yet made his appearance. " The rebel army must have trembled with anxiety lest the dreaded Yankees should heave in sight before they could escape over the swollen Potomac, which Providence seemed to have destined as the place of their surrender. It was not till the 12th of July that our army, too long delayed, came up; but, unfortunately, the enemy had nearly finished their preparations for flight. "An attack, " says Lee, "was awaited during that and the succeeding day. This did not take place, though the two armies were in close proximity. " General Meade in his report gives no explanation. The press of the day stated that General Meade again held councils of war at this supreme moment, and that several of his general opposed falling on the crippled enemy. All we know is that Lee, having completed his preparations, slipped quietly over the river on the morning of the 14th. "The crossing was not completed until 1 p. m., " says Lee, "when the bridge was removed. The enemy offered no serious interruption, and the movement was attended with no loss of material excepting a few disabled wagons and two pieces of artillery, which the horses were unable to drag through the deep mud. " I seems that General Meade and the recalcitrant members of the