Okay, here's something I'm finding interesting on this Meade-Sickles thing. The Assistant Adjutant-General, Brigadier General Seth Williams writes to Sickles the following message
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC June 30, 1863---12.45 p. m.
Commanding Officer Third Corps :
The major-general commanding directs that you move your corps up to Emmitsburg. You will take three days' rations in haversacks, 60 rounds of ammunition, and your ambulances. Your trains will remain parked here until further orders. General Reynolds' First Corps, and General Howard's Eleventh Corps, are betweeb Emmistburg and Gettysburg. General Reynolds will command the left wing, consisting of the First, Eleventh, and Third Corps. The enemy are reported to be in force in Gettysburg. You will move without delay. You will report to General Reynolds, and throw out strong pickets on the roads from Emmitsburg to Greencastle and Chambersburg. Mechanicstown, on your left, is occupied by a brigade of cavalry, with whom you will communicate.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Okay, really by itself that means very little. But the interesting part comes fifteen minutes later in his letter to Hancock
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC June 30, 1863---1 p. m.
Commanding Officer Second Corps :
General Meade directs that you move your troops up to Taneytown, cutting across the rear of Sykes', so as not to interfere with his movements, if this can be done, leaving your trains behind, to follow when the roads are clear. Sixty rounds of ammunition and three days' provisions with your men. Your ammunition trains and ambulances to follow first. Send an officer tp select a point to park your trains ready to move toward Gettysburg or Emmitsburg, as circumstances may determine.
General Sykes has been informed that you would support him at Union Mills in case the presence of a superior force of the enemy there.. The general thinks the main body of the enemy are on our left, between Chambersburg, Gettysburg, and the vicinity, and that you will not be needed there. You will communicate with General Sykes, and be governed by any information that has not been receieved here in compliance with this order.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Now the interesting part in there is how Williams begins the two letters. To Sickles he states the "major-general commanding" while to Hancock he states "General Meade. This may be reading far too much into two different letters. But in light of the idea of a controversy it seems interesting that the Assistant Adjutant-General specifies to one of the generals that this is the guy in command while to the other he simply uses the man's name.
The other thing to look at that would say whether or not this is indeed reading too much in would be Meade's relation with some of his other officers as they recieved letters with a beginning similar to Sickles. Which could very easily dismiss this as reading too much into things if Meade was considered to at least have a fair relationship with them.
Last edited on Sat Aug 28th, 2010 12:01 pm by Hellcat
Ok, I did a little further reading And I found that a copy of Butterfield's letter to Hancock, informing him that he was, by order of Meade, to take command if Reynolds was dead was supposed to be given to Howard. So why did Howard dispute Hancock's command if he recieved a copy of the letter. One reason has already been given, senority. Another might be that the letter came from the chief of staff rather than the commanding general. And yet another is the amendment just five minutes later telling Hancock to hold his column ready to move.