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β€œ [422] by the assurances of most of his higher officers.” I left General Lee quite late on the night of the 1st. Speaking of the battle on the 2d, General Lee says, in his official report: β€œIt had not been intended to fight a general battle at such a distance from our base, unless attacked by the enemy; but, finding ourselves unexpectedly confronted by the Federal army, it became a matter of difficulty to withdraw through the mountains with our large trains.”

When I left General Lee on the night of the 1st, I believed that he had made up his mind to attack, but was confident that he had not not yet determined as to when the attack should be made. The assertion first made by General Pendleton, and echoed by his confederates, that I was ordered to open the attack at sunrise, is totally false. Documentary testimony upon this point will be presented in the course of this article. Suffice it to say, at present, that General Lee never, in his life, gave me orders to open an attack at a specific hour. He was perfectly satisfied that, when I had my troops in position, and was ordered to attack, no time was ever lost. On the night of the 1st I left him without any orders at all. On the morning of the 2d, I went to General Lee's headquarters at daylight, and renewed my views against making an attack. He seemed resolved, however, and we discussed the probable results. We observed the position of the Federals, and got a general idea of the nature of the ground. About sunrise General Lee sent Colonel Venable, of his staff, to General Ewell's headquarters, ordering him to make a reconnoissance of the ground in his front, with a view of making the main attack on his left. A short time afterward he followed Colonel Venable in person. He returned at about nine o'clock, and informed me that it would not do to have Ewell open the attack. He, finally, determined that I should make the main attack on the extreme right. It was fully eleven o'clock when General Lee arrived at this conclusion and ordered the movement. In the meantime, by General Lee's authority, Law's Brigade, which had been put upon picket duty, was ordered to rejoin my command, and, upon my suggestion that it would be better to await its arrival, General Lee assented. We waited about forty minutes for these troops, and then moved forward. A delay of several hours occurred in the march of the troops. The cause of this delay was that we had been ordered by General Lee to proceed cautiously upon the forward movement, so as to avoid being seen by the enemy. General Lee ordered Colonel Johnston, of his engineer corps, to lead and conduct the head of the column. My troops, therefore, moved forward under guidance of a special officer of General Lee, and with instructions to follow his directions.

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Fitzhugh Lee (12)
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