Gettysburg Live 150 – 9:15pm – Council of War

Sometime this evening, Maj. General Meade called a council of war with his senior staff and the corps commanders. It took place sometime after the fighting on East Cemetery Hill died down.

So probably about 150 years ago right now, the generals met at Meade’s headquarters in the Leister house. Meade had three questions for the commanders to consider, which were essentially these:

  1. Should we stay here, or move back closer to our supply base in Westminster?
  2. If we stay, should we attack, or wait for the Confederates to?
  3. If we wait for an attack, how long should we?

The consensus was for the army to remain more-or-less in their current location, and wait for the Rebels to come to them. Meade was happy with that decision.

The very fact that Meade left the issue open to a committee of the other generals led to criticism after the battle. There were some who felt that this was Meade attempting to avoid responsibility for the battle if things had gone wrong. Some of the generals accused Meade of secretly wanting to retreat to his Pipe Creek Line (with the implication that this would have been less-than-honorable).

This was just Meade’s style, and it was understandable – especially given how intense his first week on the job had been.

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