James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
the Federals were posted in a convex line on Cemetery Ridgea position admirably adapted for defence. Meade decided to await attack, and if he had studied closely the character and record of his energetic adversary, he must have been almost certain that it would come. Longstreet, however, differed with his commander. In a conversation at the close of the first days fight, he expressed his opinion that their troops should be thrown round Meades left; they would then be interposed between the Union Army and Washington and Meade would be forced to take the offensive. Lee, in the anxiety and excitement of the moment, was somewhat irritated at this suggestion of a plan contrary to the one he had already determined and said, No the enemy is there and I am going to attack him. From the beginning of his invasion he had made no secret of the poor esteem in which he held his foe. While recognizing in Meade a better general than Hooker, he believed that the change of commanders at this critical moment would counterbalance the advantage in generalship; and impressed as he was by the rapid and efficient movements of the Army of the Potomac since Meade had taken command, he must on the other hand have felt that he and his army were almost invincible,a confidence shared by nearly all his officers and men, for his success on his own soil had been both brilliant and practically unbroken. There were never such men in an army before, Lee said. They will go anywhere and do anything if properly led.1
Lee was up betimes on the morning of July 2, but, owing to the slow movements of his soldiers, he lost much of the advantage of his more speedy concentration than Meades. He did not begin his attack until the afternoon was well advanced when the last of the Union Army, the Sixth
Note 1. C. F. Adams, Milt. & Dip. Studies, 310; Oxford Lect., 149. [back]