Three authors tell the story of Harrison’s arrival and Lee’s mind-set, in ordering concentration at Gettysburg:
“Stuart had failed him. Reports should have been flooding in, detailing the movement of every division of the Union army. There had not been a single word. . . . If Stuart had failed to report in, he had most likely failed as well in his other task of screening the movement of the army. He (Lee) had to assume that the Army of the Potomac might indeed know where he was, how his forces were spread out all the way from the Maryland border to Harrisburg. . . and just how vulnerable he was. (Huh?)
I should have known three days back that those people were on the march and following, he thought bitterly
. . . They’re coming North. That means a fight soon, maybe as early as two days from now, definitely within a week. It is, after all, what I wanted, but not quite yet. And not here, not on the Union army’s terms. (huh?)
. . .
But while he would have preferred another week, he knew, as well, that he was not up here for a lesurely march; ultimately he was here to fight, and this time to fight a battle that would end the war. (impossible!) Gettysburg (St. Martin’s Press, 2007)
“Lee looked at the map. Then he sat down and looked more closely. Longstreet gave the positions, the spy fluttering mothlike behind him with numbers and names and dates. Lee listened without expression. . . . He shook his head slowly. `Am I to move on the word of a paid spy?’
`Can’t afford not to.’
`There would have been something from Stuart.’
`There should have been.’
`Stuart would not have left us blind.’
Lee bent toward the map. The mountains rose like a rounded wall between them and the Union army. There was one gap east of Chambersburg and beyond that all the roads came together, weblike, at a small town. Lee put his finger on the map.
`What town is that?’ (He never looked at the map before?)
Longstreet looked. `Gettysburg,’ he said.
Lee nodded. `Well—he was squinting—`I see no reason to delay. It’s their army I’m after, not their towns.’ He followed the roads with his finger, all converging on that one small town. `I think we should concentrate in this direction.’
So it happened—thanks to an intelligence drought and a consequent miscalculation—that the two armies were set to marching on a collision course. . .
Earlier on June 28, before the arrival of the spy Harrison at his camp, General Lee had ordered a concerted movement across the Susquehanna and against Harrisburg (cross by boat, on a bridge, wade?)
Lee’s dispatch sent that night canceled the Harrisburg movement, and his revised orders, written in the morning reached Ewell at Carlisle late in the day of the 29th.
. . .
At the same time, General Lee started the rest of his army eastward. . . A.P. Hill’s corps led the way on the 29th. Harry Heth’s division gaining Cashtown, east of the mountains, by day’s end.
On Tuesday, the 30th, . . . Heth determined to make use of the day by sending a foraging party eitht miles ahead to Gettysburg to, `search the town for army supplies’” (that Early and Gordon missed?)” Gettysburg , Houghton Mifflin Co. 2003