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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 5. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Leading Confederates on the battle of Gettysburg. (search)
cation of the truth cannot now, as it might have done then, injure the cause for which we fought the battle. The request that I furnish this history to the Times comes opportunely, for the appeal just made through the press by a distinguished foreigner for all information that will develope the causes of the failure of that campaign has provoked anew its partisan and desultory discussion, and renders a plain and logical recital of the facts both timely and important. After the defeat of Burnside at Fredericksburg in December, it was believed that active operations were over for the winter, and I was sent with two divisions of my corps to the eastern shore of Virginia, where I could find food for my men during the winter, and send supplies to the Army of Northern Virginia. I spent several months in this department, keeping the enemy close within his fortifications, and foraging with little trouble and great success. On May 1st I received orders to report to General Lee, at Freder
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 5. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Our Gettysburg series. (search)
n, is, in that respect, the turning point of the war. The Army of Northern Virginia, when it invaded the Northern States was more powerful than it had ever been before. The issue of the invasion was disastrous for the Confederate cause. This is a mere fact which neither a Southerner nor a Northerner can dispute. Therefore, I must show the causes of this disaster without any disparagement for the army or its leader, just as I pointed out the causes of the ill successes of McClellan and Burnside, and shall do the same for Hooker. At present, as far as my studies of this period go, my opinion on the question is this: The mistakes which brought upon the Confederate arms the repulse at Gettysburg with its fatal consequences were the following: 1st. It was a mistake to invade the Northern States at all, because it stirred up their military spirit. The best chance of the Confederacy was the pecuniary exhaustion of the North, and not the exhaustion of its resources in men. The in
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 5. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Grant as a soldier and Civilian. (search)
rom command of that army, I felt as much relief as if I had been able to reinforce General Sherman with a large army corps. Not only has Grant been capable of forming and executing his own plans, but we must give him credit for ability to handle the great armies he forced his government to give him with more facility than any of his predecessors of the Army of the Potomac, McClellan excepted. When Grant took command of that army it had been successively commanded by McDowell, McClellan, Burnside, Pope, Hooker, and Meade. The Army of Northern Virginia had struck the Army of the Potomac under all these generals seriatim, and always, except at Antietam and at Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac had been utterly defeated, and could only be marched away from the presence of its victorious enemy to be reinforced, refitted, and brought back again after repose and reinforcement to attempt anew the on to Richmond under another experimental general. Antietam was a drawn battle. It made