On Monday, June 29, 1863, in less than twenty-four hours after being informed of his new command, Union General George Meade had the Army of the Potomac moving rapidly through Maryland in pursuit of Lee’s Confederate invaders.
Meade, a West Point graduate and career officer who had fought against the Seminoles in the 1830s and served in the Mexican War, had distinguished himself in George McClellan’s 1862 Peninsular Campaign against Richmond and at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He was not shy in taking command and acting decisively.
Jeb Stuart’s Confederate cavalry, passing north of Washington, D.C., now began their return toward Lee’s army, with Union cavalry harassing them every step of the way. Both armies were now heading unknowingly toward the sleepy, little village of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.