War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0139 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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nishing you with the records of said army. Any papers appertaining to this army that the Committee on the Conduct of the War may call for, will, of course, be promptly and cheerfully furnished. I have no recollection of ever having received the rough minutes of the council of July 2, which you say you mailed to me. The records have recently been thoroughly examined, and no such paper has been found.

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. 1ST DIV., 12th CORPS, ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND,

Tullahoma, Tenn.,

March 23, 1864.

Brigadier General S. Williams,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your circular communication of the 10th instant. My recollections of the council or meeting of corps commanders, held on the evening of the 2nd July last, are briefly these: After some desultory conversation, having reference mainly to the amount of supplies and the strength of each corps, and, incidentally, to the results of the afternoon attack upon our left, and to the defensible character of the position around Gettysburg compared with others named, three questions were read by the chief of staff for the opinion of the general officers present. In substance the were: 1. Shall the army remain in its present position? 2. If so, how long? 3. Shall it act on the defensive or offensive? The vote was, I think, unanimous to remain, and to act on the defensive, and the commanding general announced that his orders would be in accordance with this opinion. I heard no expression from him which led me to think he was in favor of withdrawing the army from before Gettysburg.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. S. WILLIAMS,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

Washington, March 29, 1864.

Major-General MEADE:

MY DEAR SIR: Your letter to Colonel Townsend, *inclosing a slip from the Herald, and asking a court of inquiry, has been laid before me by the Secretary of War, with the request that I would consider it. It is quite natural that you should feel some sensibility on the subject; yet I am no impressed, nor do I think the country is impressed, with the belief that your honor demands, or the public interest demands, such an inquiry. The country knows that at all events you have done good service; and I believe it agrees with me that it is much better for you to be engaged in trying to do more than to be diverted, as you necessarily would be, by a court of inquiry.

Yours, truly,

A. LINCOLN.

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*Of March 15, 1864, p. 127.

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