GETTING READY FOR THE FIGHT
Cemetery Hill abounded with Union generals during the closing hours of 1 July, a sign that there were a great many men of lower rank nearby. Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum, now acting commander of the Federal forces on the field, was at the gatehouse, along with the commanders of the Eleventh and Third corps--Howard, Sickles, and others with stars. Warren was present, and Doubleday, who still commanded the First Corps, if not there, must have been at his headquarters not far away.
Although these generals and their staffs made an imposing force in their own right, it was the strength at their command that really counted. The Army of the Potomac had assembled rapidly; four of its seven infantry corps plus Buford's division of cavalry were on or very near the field, while the Second and Fifth corps were not far away and would be up in the early morning. Only the large Sixth Corps and the rest of the cavalry were beyond the immediate area. The Sixth Corps had been in Manchester, Maryland, on the right of the army, earlier that evening, but General Meade had ordered it to Gettysburg also, and while the generals talked, it was marching toward the town. In retrospect, Brig. Gen. Henry J. Hunt observed that "the rapidity with which the army assembled was creditable to it and its commander. The heat was oppressive, and the long marches, especially the night marches, were strenuous and caused much straggling." 1
General Meade, who had effected this concentration, arrived at the cemetery gatehouse about midnight. He and an entourage guided by Capt. William H. Paine, an engineer, had left Taneytown, Maryland, about