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Monday, July 13, 2009


The 224th sunrise for the year 1863 was obscured by a fog hanging over the surrounding landscape. Starting at 10 a.m., the 1st Brigade became shadowy ghost like figures as they waded into the mist before a halt to their progress was called once again. After only a half-mile, there was an edgy anticipation that something beside the fog was in the air. Orders were conveyed along the entire line as rain, inevitable rain, began to fall, and men hurriedly bent to the task of building earthen and timbered breastworks in preparation for a possible attack by the Confederates. Cannons were drawn up and poked their open mouths through depressions in the breastworks at spaced intervals.

Around noon, General Meade rode the entire line to inspect it, making note of areas that might need shoring up.

Toward late afternoon Confederate prisoners and deserters reached the 1st Brigade lines. All willing to do so told a similar story of Lees army massed with their backs against the Potomac and that the Virginian was simply playing for time by employing a double line of pickets and directing them to keep up a steady fire, in an effort to deceive Meade and allow for the completion of pontoon bridges then under construction.

General Charles Griffin, commanding the 1st Division of the Fifth Corps, sent an urgent message to Meade based on the aforementioned prisoner statements, in which he practically begged for permission to attack. Meade essentially responded the army would send out a reconnaissance in the morning to scout Confederate positions. Later that same evening Meade received a telegram from Gen. Henry Halleck, warning, Do not let the enemy escape.

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