Friday, July 06, 2012

Gettysburg - July 6th - Meade in Pursuit

Halleck To Meade And French, Washington, D. C., July 6, 1863.
It is just reported here that the bridge at Harper's Ferry was left intact when General French's command abandoned that place. If so, it gives Lee a good crossing, unless it be occupied by us in strong force. No time should be lost in throwing troops into Maryland heights.

Halleck To Couch, Washington, D. C., July 6, 1863.
Major-General Meade has authority to command and direct the movements of all troops of your department. His orders will be obeyed.

Meade To Couch, via Hanover, July 6, 1863.
I cannot get very reliable intelligence of the enemy's movements. My belief is they are in retreat to the Potomac. A captured despatch to a rebel cavalry officer, dated July 5th, says Longstreet is moving through Tock mountain, and orders him to picket roads to Emmittsburg, and to report to Longstreet at Tock mountain, and Ewell at Fairfield. Sedgwick, with his corps, is pushing them at Fairfield; other corps are in support. I have delayed my flank movement until I am positively satisfied they are retreating to the Potomac. I hope to-day some time to determine this.

Meade To Halleck, Gettysburg, July 6, 1863—2 P. M.
Yesterday I sent General Sedgwick with the 6th corps in pursuit of the enemy towards Fairfield and a brigade of cavalry towards Cashtown. General Sedgwick's report indicating a large force of the enemy in the mountains, I deemed it prudent to suspend the movement to Middletown until I could be certain the enemy were evacuating Cumberland valley.

I find great difficulty in getting reliable information, but from all I can learn, the enemy is retreating, very much crippled and hampered with his trains. General Sedgwick reports that the gap at Fairfield was very formidable and would enable a small force to hold my column in check for a long time. I have accordingly resumed the movement to Middletown, and I expect by to-morrow night to assemble the army in that vicinity. Supplies will be then provided, and as soon as possible I will cross South Mountain and proceed in search of the enemy...

... If I can get the army of the Potomac in hand in the valley, and the enemy have not crossed the river, I shall give him battle, trusting, should misfortune overtake me, that sufficient number of my force, in connection with what you have in Washington, would reach that place so as to render it secure.

General Trimble, of the confederate army, was found to-day wounded just outside Gettysburg. General Kemper was found mortally wounded in the road to Fairfield, and a large number of wounded, estimated at several thousand. Generals Heth, Wade Hampton, Jenkins and Pinder, are reported wounded. The losses of the enemy were no doubt very great and he must be proportionately crippled. My head-quarters will be here to-night, and to-morrow I expect to be at Frederick.

My cavalry have been attacking the enemy on both flanks, inflicting as much injury as possible.

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