Friday, June 6, 2008

Newspaper coverage: Charles Carleton Coffin "predicts" the Battle of Gettysburg

As described in an earlier post, war correspondents often played an important military role by providing timely information to battlefield commanders. A fine example of the insightful observations of the war correspondents can be found in the writings of Charles Carleton Coffin, correspondent for the Boston Journal. In his June 29 column (five days before the battle), Carleton writes:

If Lee advances with nearly all his forces into Pennsylvania, there must be a collision of the two armies not many miles west of Gettysburg, probably among the rolling hills near the State line, on the head waters of the Monocacy... I believe that Washington Baltimore will not be harmed. I expect to see Adams, Franklin, Cumberland, and York counties run over somewhat by the rebels, and i also expect to see Lee utterly defeated in his plans. His army may not be annihilated. Hooker may not achieve a great, decisive victory. But I fully believe that Lee will gain nothing by this move.

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