Friday, July 13, 2012

Gettysburg- July 13th - Will attack Lee Tomorrow - Maybe

To General MEADE:  July 13, 1863-11. 30 a. m.
From a church steeple in Hagerstown I have made the following observations: The enemy's left seems to rest on a detached work one-fourth of a mile north of the National pike, on the farm of Wingert, or Zeller (see county map); thence running through Hilliard's, Heyser's, and Morler's estates, which is as far as I could see. Between the detached work above referred to and the pike there seems to be a battery of heavy guns; farther to their right another battery, and on Morler's farm two batteries. They appear to be very busy intrenching. Their position is on a ridge, and very strong.

O. O. HOWARD, Major-General. HDQRS. 11TH ARMY CORPS,

Meade To Halleck, July 13, 1863—5 P. M.
In my despatch of yesterday I stated that it was my intention to attack the enemy to-day unless something intervened to prevent it. Upon calling my corps commanders together and submitting the question to them, five out of six were unqualifiedly opposed to it under these circumstances, in view of the momentous consequences attendant upon a failure to succeed. I did not feel myself authorized to attack until after I had made more careful examination of the enemy's position, strength, and defensive works. These examinations are now being made.

So far as completed they show the enemy to be strongly prospected on a ridge running from the rear of Hagerstown, past Downsville, to the Potomac. I shall continue these reconnaissances with the expectation of finding some weak point, upon which, if I succeed, I shall hazard an attack. General Smith, with the advanced division of General Couch's forces, has arrived here to-day; but from the organization and condition of these troops and the short time they have to serve, I cannot place much reliance upon them.

Halleck To Meade, Washington, D. C., July 13, 1863.
Yours of 5 P. M. is received. You are strong enough to attack and defeat the enemy before he can effect a crossing. Act upon your own judgment. Make your generals execute your orders. Call no council of war. It is proverbial that councils of war never fight. Reinforcements are pushed on as rapidly as possible. Don't let the enemy escape.

TO ADJUTANT-GENERAL July 13, 1863-4. 30 p. m.
It is reported by deserters this afternoon that the enemy have completed a pontoon bridge at Williamsport, and are now crossing their wagons and a portion of their cavalry. Firing heard in that direction for some hours during early part of day. Rained nearly all last night and most of this morning.

B. F. KELLEY, Brigadier-General.

TO ALL CORPS COMMANDERS, July 13, 1863-9 p. m.
The major-general commanding directs that the commanders of the Twelfth, Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps each make a reconnaissance in force in front of their respective positions to-morrow, the 14th instant, the movement to commence punctually at 7 a. m. The reconnoitering force from each corps will be commanded by a general officer, and will be not less than a division, with such artillery as may be deemed necessary. The enemy's pickets, supports, and guards will be driven in until a distinct view of his position, defensive works, force, and its arrangements can be had. If it should be necessary to obtain this information, and should be practicable, the enemy should even be made to display his line of battle... The position of the enemy, the arrangement of his troops, the number, strength, and position of his batteries, rifle-pits, and other defensive works, will be carefully noted, and a full report will be made of all the facts of importance ascertained. 

By command of Major-General Meade

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