In late November 1863, Army of the Potomac commander George Gordon Meade launched an offensive to try to bring Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia to battle. The resulting Mine Run Campaign ended with no major battle. Over the next 3 days, we will feature three Say What? quotes to commemorate this "non-battle" which occurred between November 27 and December 2.
Meade's army successfully crossed the Rapidan River and move onto Lee's flank without Lees knowledge. Meade's subordinates ( especially 3rd Corps commander William French) fell behind Meade's timetable, however. After fighting erupted at Payne's Farm, Lee withdrew to prepared defenses behind Mine Run.
Meade's army pursued, taking positions opposite Lee late in the afternoon of November 29. Although Lee's defenses were formidable, 2nd Corps commander Gouverneur Warren reported that he believed Lee's position was weak on their right (Meade's left). Responding to this information, Meade immediately reinforced Warren with two divisions from the 3rd Corps and gave his subordinate orders to attack first thing the next morning. In all, Warren had approximately 28,000 men with which to make his attack.
As the men prepared to attack the next day, Warren reportedly said: "If I succeed to-day I shall be the greatest man in the army; if I don’t, all my sins will be remembered."
Warren probably didn't know how prescient his comment would be.