Lincoln, Meade and Gettysburg

A vision of Gettysburg Lincolnsonian

President Lincoln wandered into his office for a face to face with Joe Hooker, Commanding General of the Army of the Potomac.

"Joe, I have another report that Longstreet is on the Potomac River and has taken the path of Boonsboro Hagerstown," said the President.

Hooker was not convinced. "I do not think that the report, Mr. President, that does not align with other things we know," he said.

"What you do, then, Joe?"

"I'll wait until I have what I consider to be solid intelligence, Mr. President, unless you move to me."

Lincoln sighed wearily. "No, Joe, I'm not going to do that. You do what you think is better."

After 8:00 PM Babcock telegram. Containing a report of a refugee student James College, Hagerstown.

[Students] Report of no force between Boonsboro Hagerstown and Frederick road, except a cavalry camp 4 miles from Hagerstown where they spent the pickets. There is no force in Boonsboro to be seen at South Mountain. Reliable sources say that he heard that Longstreet and AP Hill are coming in rapidly.

He took issue with Halleck in command. Overall, guessed that Hill and Longstreet were across the river and force against Slocum was a feint. This is incorrect. The word went out to the fucking army to cross the river and start moving north, which they did with grace and good speed. But they were doing on false information. In truth, neither Hill nor Longstreet was still across the river. Slocum fake Lee had failed. He had intended to keep Hooker south of the river until later, but the action raised questions and figured prominently in making Hooker to cross. The wrong move to Hooker and the Army of the Potomac in the position in Pennsylvania ahead of the main force of Lee. Ewell was in Pennsylvania to destroy and demoralize. But the movement in early frustrated the plan Hooker that Lee had in mind.

To complicate things for Lee, two other situations. Crossing the fucking time of the Potomac, but on the basis of misinformation, had the effect of stealing a march on Lee. Lee did not know that Hooker had moved and thought follows in Virginia. He did not realize his mistake until a crucial moment.

And then, Jeb Stewart was out in the north, well interpret (or misinterpret) the freedom that gave Lee. Stewart's foolish decision to walk in the Army of the Potomac again to regain some of his glory and reputation of Lee's plan devastated.

On June 27, Lee joined AP Hill in Chambersburg. When the conference broke up, Lee drew in the center of the diamond and turned right onto Gettysburg Pike.

The Union spy Hoke took a train to the capital and reported to General couch. Hooker telegraphed Couch, who was Muddling along the rain that was established in Poolville, Maryland.

General John Reynolds was in Middleton, the principal element of the XI Corps Howard. Reported to headquarters on 28 eminent an apparent attack at Gettysburg. Hooker had sent a cavalry division in the direction of Emmitsburg and Gettysburg. I had known with certainty from the 27th of the entire invading army of Lee was in Pennsylvania. Still, the Union had reason for optimism. Read more spread its forces, and spread very thin.

But the mood in the army command was such that nothing brought joy and good feelings about any of this. Halleck and Lincoln were angry with Hooker. For them, let Lee make his move in Pennsylvania, almost without notice. They wanted to stop Lee and do it now. Pandemonium, bordering on panic reigned in the headquarters of the command.

Halleck did not favor the appointment of Hooker and now felt he could speak. The war of words that had been building since Chancellorsville now escalated to a crescendo. Hooker also said that Lincoln and Halleck tied their hands.

"Lee has the freedom to maneuver and I'm not," Hooker said bluntly Halleck and the President. "This is an unequal fight. Is that people expect the impossible from me." Hooker was in a dilemma. He wanted, but he will not quit. He thought he knew a way to force Lincoln to replace him.

"Mr. President," he said in a cable: "My strength of 105,000 is significantly below that of Lee. I must have more men." Hooker knew what McClellan and Pinkerton had ever over-estimate the size of the force enmy Lincoln made bitter. I knew that these misrepesentations figured largely in Lincoln's decision to relieve McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac for the final time. Hooker very good intelligence that Lee had 85,000 at most. Halleck and Lincoln knew the same. No doubt this is relieved him.

But Halleck and Lincoln could not see the way clear to do so.

"Do the best you can with what we have," Lincoln wired back.

Cable Hooker Halleck. "If I fail in Pennsylvania, General Halleck is willing to make me the scapegoat. I will not be for that. I am no longer able to fulfill orders from Halleck and asked to be relieved of this position at a time. "

Lincoln and Halleck held a brief meeting. "I want to give up here, Henry," said the President. Halleck stood.

"We can not pull Vicksburg.'s Near victory."

"Sherman takes over. Any person may wait for the siege. Need Grant."

"If you bring Grant, I will give up too!" Halleck shouted. I "I said I can not and will not work with the poor idiot, drunk. If you want to lose the war, Mr. President, why do not you just give up?"

Lincoln held his temper with an effort. I was in a bind. He had need for a subsidy to stay in Vicksburg, despite what he said. Now, Lee knocked on his door. He does not see how he could afford to lose Halleck and Hooker, at the same time.

"Who else is there?" Lincoln asked.

Halleck quick thinking. "Hooker is often said that George Meade is the most capable man in his command."

"Meade? You're not going to work with Grant, but want to Meade?" Lincoln held his tongue. Jealousy Halleck were threatening the war effort. "Okay, Henry, Meade will, but I want that understood. Meade If not, Grant is coming and he will not resign. I will give you your way this time, but I have mine to get the next."

Halleck did not want to agree, but I knew if he pushed too far Lincoln, he and Grant would be out immediately. Halleck did not want to leave. He liked where he was. "Very well, Mr. President I agree that if Meade does not work, Grant and I shall hold my peace."

Lincoln looked sternly at Halleck. "Do not forget that Henry" he said with a voice devoid of his usual humor monitored.

Within hours, Halleck and his team went to Frederick Meade orders to the new commander of the Army of the Potomac. When Hooker heard of him, he rebuked for not negotiating. I had done, Meade said in the past, but he would not have said now. "We could have had John Reynolds," a friend said sadly, "I never had an officer below to acquit myself very well."

Lee said that intelligence was drawing his forces together for something in the vicinity of Gettysburg-Chambersburg. Followed a few days of trying to find the object of Lee's new plan. Meade believed Lee come through four miles north of Chambersburg and Gettysburg half way. John Reynolds, sent to the area as a vanguard of the body of Howard, did not believe it, but said little. When she finally learned that Lee was coming to Gettysburg, Meade began to show signs of the same indecision and lack of courage that had plagued offensive to all commanders of the Army of the Potomac, in front of him.

When Buford was shy Meade, went to John Reynolds. "I remember exactly what it says Meade at Chancellorsville when he was spitting out of Hooker Hooker being a coward and brave he was."

"Remember, General Buford? I do not."

"Yes, John said that none of us knows what he would do until you are in the position ..."

Reynolds raised his hand and stopped Buford in mid-sentence. "Sometimes the best quality that a man can have is a good forgettable, Buford. I forgot and I suggest you forget, too. We have a war to win if we can."

On the day of the beginning of the battle of Gettysburg, Meade sent Halleck a telegram that read: "I shall not be advanced any, but are preparing for an attack in the case of Lee makes one." Buford looked at the telegram again questioned Gen. Reynolds. "In the case of Lee makes one? Has all his army, lacking only Pickett, who is on the road as fast as you can move, Gettysburg accumulated below. How can one justify general saying:" In the case of matters to attack? "

Reynolds was once again the diplomat. "We have to try to work together, General Buford, but from here on out until this battle is over, I doubt we will hear anything else from General Meade."

Buford shook his head. "A messenger is coming now with another note of General Meade."

For the first time, Reynolds showed some emotion. "I said, I will not hear anything over General Meade until this battle is over or until Meade is in person. We have a war to win. We will not have another Chancellorsville. "I stared at Buford do not seem to understand the message. Then he turned and went back to get their troops, while Buford came to Gettysburg to take charge of the men already there.

The message that the messenger had been an announcement of its army Meade in a document circulated, "[T] he goal of the movement is to prevent the invasion of the enemy's intention of Philadelphia, & c. beyond the Susquehanna. No longer is [the] intention to assume the offensive until Lee's movements or the position to do an operation of some success. "

An error in any order allowed the corps commander on his own initiative to withdraw his army back to Pipe Creek. It read:

"Every time that this situation is presented as suggesting the necessity of falling back and taking this general line indicated, the notice of the motion will be at once reported to this office and all adjoining corps commanders."

Containing no need to ask permission to withdraw. However, Meade was saved from this ignominy, not by the grace of their own. Before he could leave home to find out what he had told his troops, the word came down. The Battle of Gettysburg had begun. Fortunately for Meade and the Union, or Reynolds and Buford had listened to Meade or purpose.

Until his death in mid-day, John Reynolds has the Union as he immediately saw were in positions of power. With the help of Buford, who were ready to attack. Shortly after the death of Reynolds, General Hancock arrived on the scene with orders to Meade to take the reins of the battle, and did so with great discretion and action. The first day went well, with the celebration of the Union and Confederate making only small advances in the way. Hancock said the Union's position was stronger than seen in any battle.

At dusk, the entire Union Army reached Gettysburg with few minor exceptions, outnumbering Lee for as many as 30,000 soldiers. The Union arms were firmly entrenched on high ground.

Hancock was ecstatic. "Lee is in no position to attack any force, but her great body, but smaller combatants excellent. We are in the strongest possible defensive position. If the Army of the Potomac can not win this battle," he said wryly, "we can not win any battle at all. "Hancock was right. The army was strongly entrenched. He was taken in an excellent manner by Hancock, in general, control and Buford, Slocum, Warren, Newton, Gibbon, Birney, Sykes, Sedgwick, Howard and Williams, all men of war.

Warren was the one who spoke. "We were denied the right to fight and win in the desert, like yourself, and remember, General Meade. But we will come here. I have really wanted to exorcise the ghosts here and now."

However, Meade, who was also there and was one of the most openly critical of Hooker to lose the nerves and stealing defeat from the jaws of victory, begins to show her shyness and lack of courage.

"Yes, guys, this is a position out of which one can not be released, but that can easily be converted." He turned to his chief lieutenant. "Hancock," he said decisively: "I think we had best prepare for a retreat. I'm not sure you can stand another day like the one just completed "

Meade Hancock looked as if he had lost his mind. "General Meade! The Union is in the same position tonight we've been all day and all our military is now. What do you mean when you say you are not sure we could time the other day that just ended? "

Meade saw the anger, hostility and disappointment in the eyes of his generals. It was decided by a momentary output. "At 9:00 pm I would like you all meet at the headquarters in Lister's house for a discussion." Sharp was sent to provide what intelligence he had.

The meeting with Mead trying to discourage their leaders. "Lee is reinforced by Pickett at this time tonight and tomorrow is sure to be much worse than today. With this in mind, and realize that I really believe is best for our interests to get back to Pipe Creek, I have a discussion about this. "

Hancock had seen this too many times and was not going to sit side by side. He was quick to respond. "General, we have nicked."

That was not what I wanted to hear Meade. Acute saw that Meade intended to convince the generals to be removed. "Pipe Creek is much more defensible. Do not we get the generals back to a position closer to our supply base?"

Hancock was the design of Chancellorsville, and Meade and recalled as Sykes and Sedgewick had voted with Hooker and later repented. He turned in the bed where he had been sitting with his back to the room and began to speak. "General Lee is a lot more miles from their supply base than we do ours. General Meade, Army of the Potomac, they knew they could win at the Santiago but were denied the fight. The same happened at Malvern Hill. Just when Lee was about to lick, McClellan us out. In the desert, the war was in our hands and General Hooker ordered us to quit. All things were far away in the backyard of Lee and fear of the consequences are more easily justified. Now we have Lee on our territory. Their supplies are short, his men are tired of marching, and there is nothing between your ass and Richmond. If we run from this battle the Union cause is lost. I do not think the Army of the Potomac never recover their pride, their nerve, and self-respect. We must resist and fight. The battle of tomorrow is what an army. "

"Yes, sir, but to fall back to Pipe Creek, we are in a more favorable defensive position." Warren spoke. "General, nobody in the room believes that. We have the military experience with more than two years of fighting in these parts. None of us had never seen a more favorable defensive position. Clearly, a more favorable defensive position that the deployment does not exist hook directed by Reynolds, Buford, and Hancock on the high ground yesterday. If we pull out of this are cowards and our name will live in infamy. "

Meade looked around trying to get a feel for the position of others. Finally, he ordered a formal vote in close vote. A formal vote was taken. Hancock, Warren Slocum, Newton, Gibbon, Birney, Sykes, Sedgwick, Howard and Williams were unanimously against any backward movement of any kind. Mead was not satisfied. He asked each one to enlarge the overall position. In this debate, Hancock, Warren Slocum, Newton, Gibbon, Birney, Sykes, Sedgwick, Howard and Williams were standing and fighting. Three generals for some adjustment of lines, but none were for any movement that would not back an inch of ground.

As they left the house of Lister, Sharp walked with General Hancock. "Thank you, General, to save the Union." Hancock was embarrassed and nodded politely. But Sharp actually believed that Hancock pep talk had saved the battle of Gettysburg. Like the others, believed that if the Union had escaped from Gettysburg, who could not win the war.

It was clear to Sharp that Meade was both disappointed and concerned, but the question, "we must attack or wait to be attacked?" The question becomes to show a lack of thought ordered by Meade.

Birney was the answer. "Why would anyone even consider giving up a defensive position to meet the open Lee when Lee, which is outdoors, it is clearly planning an attack?" The opinion was unanimous that it must defend and attack.

Meade had a third question: "How long can we expect to be attacked I am in favor of leaving after one day if Lee did not attack tomorrow, he has changed his plans and is up to something ... I do not want Lee to steal a up to half of his army and behind us and between us and Washington. "This was not a conclusive vote, although most of the generals were not in favor of waiting more than a day if Lee did not attack. Proved to be a purely academic discussion.

The Other Side

"Damn, Lee, this fight is crazy," said a very excited and worried James Longstreet. "Why are we doing this. We have exactly what you want. Let us turn to the left of Meade, continue on to Washington, and Meade to attack us. "

Lee was patient but firm. "James, I know your penchant for fighting defensive battles only when attacked. And yes, it is easier to defend a position to invade one, especially facing us tomorrow."

"General, we face tomorrow can not be invaded by us or by any other person. It is a bastion. The Army of Northern Virginia was never defeated in a defensive battle. I know that shyness and Meade going to attack us. He walks in parallel, feint and bravado, but nothing more. You pass all their time trying to attack him. I know him well from my days in the Union. He is a good general, careful, thorough but very limited. A 'Fighting Joe Hooker' is not. A great gift has been given to us. For the love of God, General Lee, not the hand back. "

Lee raised his hand to stop it. "Jim, I have listened to you courtesy and a policy of always listen to my generals the night before a campaign. But if we go further with this is to work against us. My army is invincible. Tomorrow task is enormous, but the Union can not be submitted to the Army of Northern Virginia. When we launched our strength in them, it will break. We must not let them think they are afraid of them. This battle will be the end of the war. These are the great battles in the great wars are won, I do not want to sneak into Washington., I want to march in that proud conqueror. "

Such stimulation-of-the-moment decisions, made on the fly, had been worse. But once that time had been allowed for deliberation and advice, a poor decision - a most colossal military error of major proportions in a great conflict - there in the history of the wars that made up Lee in Gettysburg Meade central army, wave after wave, just trying to right of Meade (the only possible way of success) long after the outcome was determined. It was worse than suicide - it was masochism. To add to the ignominy, had warned him and pleaded for the man he called the best thinker among his generals, who did not. The three days of fighting at Gettysburg broke the entire Army of Northern Virginia. Many of its leaders and a third of the fighters were killed. Worse, Lee, who strangely believed that his army is invincible, had broken and discouraged. Against all sound military trials remained in it because he was sure, for metaphysical reasons, that somehow he would win against all odds. Only after the fighting stopped, he realized what he had done.

Lee pleaded with his generals to give assistance to get the remaining army of Gettysburg and in some sort of orderly withdrawal as soon as possible. Lee hoped it would be destroyed by Meade.

So did the army of Meade. "I give you half an hour to show its being a great general," said Pleasanton fighter Meade. "Order the army to advance and will take the cavalry and get in the back of Lee and we will finish this season in a week."

But Meade was not listening. I was not going after Lee. "A wounded bear is known to be the most dangerous," he said weakly. "Lee is still in good condition and able to make a fight. My army is too beaten to fight more at this time. "

Pleasanton dropped all pretense of knowledge and stared angrily at Meade as he shook his head in disbelief. But Meade did not respond as expected Pleasanton. "I know that my men are itching to go after Lee and I am sorry for your contempt, but I'm happy with what we have achieved more than I expected or expect to be informed of this great victory of Lincoln and Halleck ... You can not help but be very happy. "In his letter to Lincoln, added:" I am glad that the enemy had been driven from our land ... "

It was another misjudgment by Meade. Lincoln expressed his pleasure with nothing but Meade's report strongly criticized. "General Meade, I wanted you to go after Lee. Why not? There seems to be no acceptable reason. "An angry Lincoln asked his private secretary John Hay," When our general idea of ​​your head? The whole country is "our land". Halleck connected to disappointment and disapproval of Lincoln. "The thought of the President and wish for you, General Meade, not to win the great battles and glorious, but to win the war. That could and should have been done to destroy Lee's army. It gave you and you sat in indecision and lack of value, ignoring the pleas of his own generals, and that Lee limping. Maybe you did not know the condition of Lee's army or the exact condition of your account, but not good Commanding Generals are shy and seize the moment. Most commanding officers never see the kind of opportunity for dramatic victory was before. A great opportunity was lost and the disappointment that the President is not diminished at this time. "

Meade, seeing that Lincoln would not relent in the pressure or criticism, was after Lee, but found it already across the river. Meade was relieved and reported the matter to Halleck and the President. "I have, in accordance with their wishes, followed by the Army of Northern Virginia with tenacity and dispatch. But he is across the river and out of my reach at this time. Just not going to put my army besieged by the river this time. "

Lincoln was more than I could bear. What he feared had happened. Instructed to give their displeasure Halleck to Meade that Halleck did.

Meade was the same syndrome developing with him as with other commanders. Nothing I did was go in favor of Lincoln who thought their commanders should always act promptly and accurately as he understood from his office chair. Meade sent a letter irritated: "Mr. President, I am sorry for the lack of recognition and support If you and the Chief of Staff are not satisfied with my performance, you have my offer to resign.".

Halleck convinced Lincoln did not have anyone at that time and had to keep Meade or the army would be left without a commander. "Others do not think General Meade has been treated well by you, sir. Come Gettysburg as a great victory, but no thanks Meade reached. They do not see the situation as you and I know and see. Demoralization is a real danger . "

Lincoln made a gesture of silence. He was in no mood to talk about it. He had to be without Meade, Hooker, and Halleck and no other general willing to take over. Inside, Lincoln was very unhappy and frustrated. He thought carefully and tried to resist temptation, but lost the battle. "Grant would have won the battle and destroyed Lee. In criticizing Meade, I have to think about my own lack of courage. I leave you force me to retire. Two great and rare opportunity to end the war have gone through together, because I bent over her fear of embarrassment if Grant came And the reason was a double. When you were in the field together, Grant was not afraid to fight, and, like all my other generals were. "Halleck was surprised and felt his body aching from the tension and ... and fear. He suddenly realized he did not know that Lincoln, as he thought he did. Finally, he rose, without comment, and went to send his message of reconciliation Meade.


Therefore, a strange epilogue Gettysburg writable.

1. Hooker uses the brilliant military intelligence Chancellorsville, but lost the battle because of errors in the field.

2. When Lee invaded Pennsylvania, overwhelmed Lee Hooker and put the Army of the Potomac in a position to win the battle of Gettysburg, due to poor intelligence.

3. Lee, who was away from home and no supply lines, they have not attacked the force of the EU average and the formidable position of the high ground at Gettysburg. Had he not done so, and if I had listened to Longstreet, who in all probability, have won the war in the Pennsylvania campaign.

4. Meade became nervous and tried to withdraw from the battle of Gettysburg, but started too soon.

5. Because Howard's wisdom, the brilliant work of Hancock, Reynolds and Buford, and the firmness of his generals, Meade was credited with a victory that was trying to flee, but could not.

6. What Lincoln had fought and prayed for more than two years limped across the landscape before him asking to be had. The destruction of Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia was as sure as the sun in the morning if Meade had said simply "good" to Pleasanton. Meade had the men, horses, weapons, food, and numbers. He simply did not dare.

The Lincoln-Meade relationship

In the months that followed did much to reverse Meade's idea that was worthless, but not much to dispel the idea of ​​always backing up and fight against drilling, land that gives the strategy. "Mr. President," said laboriously in the day, while sitting in chairs overlooking the Rappahannock, "My strategy is to fight defensive battles. It is safer, and makes the job harder enemy.

This Lincoln did not meet all those who accused Meade in the face. "General, I must say that the struggle as a living scaring the geese through a path with a broom." Meade was offended. He got up and walked across the green grass on the banks of the river. He then returned to Lincoln, who sat in the chair reached bottom, as if they never intended to move again.

"Well then, Mr. President, it seems clear that it must be replaced as soon as possible." Lincoln had no reverse gear.

"I would replace the general, when the time is right and when they have adequate staff to do so. Or, may not be replaced. I can change the command structure." Meade was puzzled by the comments of the President.

"What does that mean, Mr. President?" Oddities of Lincoln and his face completely unreadable is admirably adapted for this type of discussion.

"I'm not sure, sir. Perhaps they learn together when it happens." A confused Meade noted the president wandering slowly toward his boat to return to Washington. As he did, he muttered to himself.

"Sometimes it acts and speaks like Lincoln strange as it seems."

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