gone,” and “that mortal man could not have stood that fire.”
I do not propose to follow General Longstreet
through the details of the battle of Gettysburg
The charges of the Southern
soldiers on the 2d and 3d of July were magnificent, and did them the highest honor.
But this was not war. Napoleon I. laid down the maxim that a general who disregards the principles of war at the commencement of a campaign, finds himself overwhelmed by the consequences when the crisis of battle arrives.
The campaign of Gettysburg
is a good illustration of the truth of this maxim.
violated the principles of strategy, and the results forced him to disregard those of tactics, and when after the repulse of his troops on the third day, he said, “it was all my fault,” he nobly declared the true verdict in the case.
The battle of Gettysburg
was over, and in speaking of the subsequent events of the campaign, I do so with reluctance.
I was in the position to form a correct opinion of the failure of the army to follow General Lee
, having been the constant companion of General Meade
from the time he assumed the command at Frederick City.
In justice to the General
, I can state he did not desire the command, and considered it hazardous to change commanders at that time, and his position was far more difficult than it would have been had he been assigned the command at the commencement of the campaign.
Personally very brave, an excellent corps commander, General Meade
had not that grasp of mind, when thrown into a new and responsible position, to quickly comprehend and decide upon important events as they occurred.
He required time to come to a decision, and this indulgence an active campaign never allows to a commanding general.
From the time he assumed command of the army until after the battle of Gettysburg
, the most important events were occuring with such rapidity, and with such resistless force, that his decisions were the consequences of these events rather than the operations of his individual intelligence.
From the suddenness of the repulse of the last charge on July 3d, it became necessary for General Meade
to decide at once what to do. I rode up to him, and, after congratulating him on the splendid conduct of the army, I said: “General, I will give you half an hour to show yourself a great general. Order
the army to advance, while I will take the cavalry, get in Lee
's rear, and we will finish the campaign in a week.”
He replied: “How do you know Lee
will not attack me again; we have done well enough.”
I replied that Lee
had exhausted all his available men; that the cannonade of the two last days had exhausted his ammunition; he was far from his base