Washington Quiet as Battle of Gettysburg Begins

July 1, 1863

While about 85 miles north of Washington, the great three-day Battle of Gettysburg was beginning, business in Washington was relatively quiet.  President Lincoln does not even address the usual pardon cases that often concerned him.

After visiting Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, President Lincoln writes: “I have just been to the Secretary of War with Dr. [William D.]  Stewart’s case. He says that scarsely any case has been so fully heard on both sides, and that he is not clearer of the correctness of any decision made. Of course I can over rule his decision if I will, but I cannot well administer the War Department independent of the Secretary of War. Besides on a one sided presentation made to me as this is, I have no confidence that my decision would be more correct than the one already made.”

New York Governor Edwin D. Morgan to Abraham Lincoln writes President Lincoln: “In view of the impending battle I am sure you have considered the question of strengthening Genl Meade from the force under Genl. Dix en. There is another matter that you probably have not considered. Viz Placing Genl McClellan in command at Elmira N. Y. with the approval of Governor Seymour with authority to gather thirty thousand troops. Genl McClellans popularity with the soldiers will enable him to enroll nearly all the returned Soldiers and Elmira is an important Military post. I pray you consider this.”

Before he is killed, Union General John F. Reynolds writes: “The enemy is advancing in strong force, I will fight him inch by inch, and if driven into the town I will barricade the streets and hold him back as long as possible.”   The Union Army gathers on Cemetery Ridge, which General Winfield S. Hancock declares “This is the strongest position by nature on which to fight a battle that I ever saw.”

Published in: on July 1, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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