2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Wednesday, July 1, 1863
A Meeting Engagement
Weather: 72 - 76, cloudy, slight breeze, humid
On Wednesday, July 1, 1863, Confederate General Robert Edward Lee's Army worked to consolidate their forces currently scattered throughout south central Pennsylvania. Just nine months earlier, his previous foray onto Northern soil had ended short of his desires. This time however, he had nearly twice the number of men that he had in September 1862 and both the beloved General and his men held the highest confidence that this effort would prove much more successful than Antietam. Except for the unusual absence of General JEB Stuart's cavalry, the march north had gone well, with much in the way of confiscated northern supplies to show for their exertions. Having learned from Northern newspapers that just prior to last September's disappointment at Antietam, General McClellan had obtained a copy Lee's orders defining his plans for the Army of Northern Virginia's first march into Federal territory, last years defeat at Antietam now appeared like the anomaly it was. Since taking command of the Southern forces in this theater, General Lee pushed McClellan's massive army off of the Peninsula, defeated General John Pope at Manassas, and suffered a tactical draw at Antietam. He then achieved signal victories at Fredericksburg while on the defensive and at Chancellorsville when taking the offensive. It seemed their was very little his men could not accomplish.  Despite the irreplaceable loss of Lieutenant General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson just two months earlier, an unwavering confidence in his men and his army's fighting prowess had sustained him in Stuart's absence.

Yet just days ago, Henry T. Harrison, one of Lieutenant General James Longstreet's spies, brought unsettling news. The newly appointed Union commander, Major General George Gordon Meade, had the Army of the Potomac on the move. They marched in pursuit of an enemy whose current positions and intentions remained unknown to them. Yet, they closed rapidly on Lee's scattered forces while striving to keep themselves between the Confederate Army and Washington. Complying with orders to consolidate the Southern Army's three Corps, on June 30, Lieutenant General A. P. Hill's men remained near Cashtown, about 8 miles west of Gettysburg. As Hill's men settled in, a detachment under Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew would move east towards Gettysburg to determine the presence of any Union troops. While approaching the town, Pettigrew's division sighted what appeared to be Union Cavalry. Following orders to avoid an engagement, General Pettigrew returned and reported his findings. His immediate commander, Major General Henry Heth, would request and receive permission to take a larger force into Gettysburg the following day to clarify the potential threat and, if minimal, brush it aside and search for supplies.