The Spy Harrison

Also today, 150 years ago, a spy named Harrison that General Longstreet had hired returned to the Confederate camp near Chambersburg, PA with a story that was hard to believe.

Not only did he claim that the Union Army of the Potomac was on the move, but that it had already crossed the Potomac river with all 7 corps, and was rapidly heading their way. He also knew that Hooker had been replaced by Meade as the overall commander of the Union forces. In light of this, General Longstreet took Harrison to see General Lee immediately.

Lee found this information especially troubling. Why was a hired spy telling him this rather than his own cavalry? What was J.E.B. Stuart doing if he wasn’t providing intelligence? Though he didn’t like it, Lee had to act. He sent orders to all his commanders, currently spread all over south central Pennsylvania, to use the road network to concentrate the army in the vicinity of a town called Gettysburg (or maybe Cashtown).

150 years ago tonight, those moves started to happen. It would be a race – one that Lee felt he had to win – whoever could bring their army together first would have a decisive advantage in the coming conflict.

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