Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30, 1863: Buford updates Reynolds and Pleasanton on Confederate advance


As darkness fell over Gettysburg, Brigadier General John Buford's cavalry scouts reported what they had found to the north and west of the town. Buford quickly digested the reports and sent messages to the Union infantry coming up behind him and his own superior. The first message went to Major General John F. Reynolds, commander of the Union I Corps coming towards Gettysburg from the south.
GETTYSBURG, June 30, 1863-10. 30 p. m.

The Reserve Brigade, under General Merritt, is at Mechanicstown with my trains. General Pleasonton wrote he would inform me when he relieved it. To-day I received instructions saying it would picket toward Hagerstown and south. I am satisfied that A. P. Hill's corps is massed just back of Cashtown, about 9 miles from this place. Pender's division of this(Hill's) corps came up to-day-of which I advised you, saying, "The enemy in my front is increased. " The enemy's pickets(infantry and artillery) are within 4 miles of this place, on the Cashtown road. My parties have returned that went north, northwest, and northeast, after crossing the road from Cashtown to Oxford in several places. They heard nothing of any force having passed over it lately. The road, however, is terribly infested with prowling cavalry parties. Near Heidlersburg today, one of my parties captured a courier of Lee's. Nothing was found on him. He says Ewell's corps is crossing the mountains from Carlisle, Rodes' division being at Petersburg in advance. Long from Carlisle, Rodes' division being at Petersburg in advance. Longstreet, from all I can learn, is still behind Hill. I have many rumors and reports of the enemy advancing upon me from toward York. I have to pay attention to some of them, which causes me to overwork my horses and men. I can get no forage nor rations; am out of both. The people give and sell the men something to eat, but I can't stand that way of subsisting; it causes dreadful straggling. Should I have to fall back, advise me by what route.

Respectfully,

JNO. BUFORD.

Major-General REYNOLDS.
Next, Buford sent off the following update to his direct superior, Alred Pleasonton.
GETTYSBURG, June 30-10. 40 p. m.

I have the honor to state the following facts: A. P. Hill's corps, composed of Anderson, Heth, and Pender, is massed back of Cashtown, 9 miles from this place. His pickets, composed of infantry and artillery, are in sight of mine. There is a road from Cashtown running through Mummasburg and Hunterstown on to York pike at Oxford, which is terribly infested with roving detachments of cavalry. Rumor says Ewell is coming over the mountains from Carlisle. One of his escort was captured-to-day near Heidlersburg. He says Rodes, commanding a division of Ewell's has already crossed the mountains from Carlisle. When will the reserve be relieved, and where are my wagons?I have no need of them, as I can find no forage. I have kept General Reynolds informed of all that has transpired. The inclosed is in reply to last dispatch.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. BUFORD,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

General PLEASONTON.

[Indorsment]

Respectfully forward. A report from General Buford and one from General Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick has done very well.

A. PLEASONTON,

Major-General, Commanding.
Buford only had two of his division's three brigades with him at Gettysburg. His third reserve brigade was still on the road somewhere behind him guarding the division's wagons. As these messages show, Buford needed food for his men and horses. He would also need the extra ammunition in the wagons if there was to be a battle in the coming days.

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