July 2

This morning we started about 7 o'clock for camp and arrived about 10 o'clock a. m.; have had directions to fix up quarters as there is a prospect of remaining in camp several days; are obeying orders of course, but I suspect we shall move before three days; very warm day—sweltering.

July Second

General Lee distinctly ordered Longstreet to attack early the morning of the second day, and if he had done so, two of the largest corps of Meade's army would not have been in the fight; but Longstreet delayed the attack until four o'clock in the afternoon, and thus lost his opportunity of occupying Little Round Top, the key to the position, which he might have done in the morning without firing a shot or losing a man.

General John B. Gordon


Second day at Gettysburg, 1863



July 2, 1863

Thursday. Last night the shot and shells flew thicker than at any time. The Rebs seem to be getting madder all the time. I got my closest call, too. I was sitting on a plank laid across the ravine when a shell burst in front of me. I don't know how I knew, but I did know a hunk of it was coming straight for me, and I dove off into the weeds just as it struck and tore up the ground behind me. It must have gone within an inch or less of the plank, and right where I sat. It is reported that General Dow and Story were recaptured last night by our cavalry. We hope for Story's sake it is true. An orderly rode in a few minutes ago with an order for troops, saying the Rebels had attacked Springfield Landing. The Zouaves and the 162d New York have started, and probably others from farther up the line. All our stores of supplies are there. The Essex has up with her anchor and gone down there and if there is any fighting we shall hear it soon. If our supplies are captured we will have to fight on empty stomachs or be captured ourselves. How the Rebs would laugh at us if such a thing should happen, and who could blame them!

July 2

July 2, 1870.--One of the vices of France is the frivolity which substitutes public conventions for truth, and absolutely ignores personal dignity and the majesty of conscience. The French are ignorant of the A B C of individual liberty, and still show an essentially catholic intolerance toward the ideas which have not attained universality or the adhesion of the majority. The nation is an army which can bring to bear mass, number, and force, but not an assembly of free men in which each individual depends for his value on himself. The eminent Frenchman depends upon others for his value; if he possess stripe, cross, scarf, sword, or robe--in a word, function and decoration--then he is held to be something, and he feels himself somebody. It is the symbol which establishes his merit, it is the public which raises him from nothing, as the sultan creates his viziers. These highly-trained and social races have an antipathy for individual independence; everything with them must be founded upon authority military, civil, or religious, and God himself is non-existent until he has been established by decree. Their fundamental dogma is that social omnipotence which treats the pretension of truth to be true without any official stamp, as a mere usurpation and sacrilege, and scouts the claim of the individual to possess either a separate conviction or a personal value.

5. John Adams

York, 2 July, 1774.

I have concluded to mount my horse to-morrow morning at four, and ride to Wells to hear my old worthy, learned, ingenious friend Hemmenway, whom I never was yet so happy as to hear. Mr. Winthrop agrees to be my company. Wells is about fifteen miles from this place; from thence we propose to ride after the evening service is over to Saco, i. e., Biddeford, which is about thirty miles from here, which will leave us an easy journey to Falmouth for Monday

Mr. Winthrop tells me that he has heard the late Governor Hutchinson, while he was Chief Justice, frequently say for seven years together, that Salem was the most proper, convenient, and suitable place in the province for the seat of government; that he frequently complimented the gentlemen of Salem with the happiness and convenience of their situation for the seat of government, and with his prophecies that it would certainly be made such in a course of years. I mentioned this to Judge Trowbridge, and he told me that he himself remembered to have heard him. say the same thing. I am very much mistaken if I have not heard him say so too. And I remember I happened to be with Kent when he carried to Judge Lynde his commission as Chief Justice, and Judge Lynde entertained me for some time with conversation about making Salem the seat of government, and with the probable effects of such a measure; one of which he said would be a translation of a great part of the trade from Boston to Salem. But he said he did not want to have troops in Salem.

Now let any one who knows these anecdotes judge who was the suggester, planner, and promoter of this wrongheaded and iniquitous measure.

I write you this tittle-tattle, my dear, in confidence. You must keep these letters to yourself, and communicate them with great caution and reserve. I should advise you to put them up safe and preserve them. They may exhibit to our posterity a kind of picture of the manners, opinions, and principles of these times of perplexity, danger, and distress.

Deacon Sayward said at table this week in my hearing that there was but one point in which he differed in opinion from the late Governor Hutchinson, and that was with regard to the reality of witchcraft and the existence of witches. The Governor, he said, would not allow there was any such thing. The Deacon said he was loath to differ from him in anything; he had so great a regard for him and his opinions, that he was willing to give up almost everything rather than differ with him. But in this he could not see with him.

Such is the cant of this artful, selfish, hypocritical man.

Pray remember me to my dear little babes, whom I long to see running to meet me and climb up upon me under the smiles of their mother.