been done, his army would have been dislodged, beyond question.
Seventh, on the morning of the 3d it was not yet too late to move to the right and maneuvre the Federals
into attacking us. Eighth, Pickett
's Division should not have been ordered to assault Cemetery Ridge
on the 3d, as we had already tested the strength of that position sufficiently to admonish us that we could not dislodge him. While the co-operation of Generals Ewell
, on the 2d, by vigorous assault at the moment my battle was in progress, would, in all probability, have dislodged the Federals
from their position, it does not seem that such success would have yielded the fruits anticipated at the inception of the campaign.
The battle, as it was fought, would, in any result, have so crippled us that the Federals
would have been able to make good their retreat, and we should soon have been obliged to retire to Virginia
with nothing but victory to cover our waning cause.
The morals of the victory might have dispirited the North
, and aroused the South
to new exertions, but it would have been nothing in the game being played by the two armies at Gettysburg
As to the abandonment of the tactical defensive policy that we had agreed upon, there can be no doubt that General Lee
deeply deplored it as a mistake.
His remark, made just after the battle, “It is all my fault,” meant just what it said.
It adds to the nobility and magnanimity of that remark, when we reflect that it was the utterance of a deep-felt truth, rather than a mere sentiment.
In a letter written to me by General Lee
, in January, 1864, he says: “Had I taken your advice at Gettysburg
, instead of pursuing the course I did, how different all might have been.”
Captain T. J. Gorie
, of Houston, Texas
, a gentleman of high position and undoubted integrity, writes to me upon this same point as follows: “Another important circumstance which I distinctly remember was in the winter of 1864, when you sent me from East Tennessee
to Orange Court-House
with dispatches for General Lee
Upon my arrival there, General Lee
asked me in his tent, where he was alone with two or three Northern papers on his table.
He remarked that he had just been reading the Northern
official report of the battle of Gettysburg
; that he had become satisfied, from reading those reports that, if he had permitted you to carry out your plans on the third day, instead of making the attack on Cemetery Hill
, we would have been successful.”
I cannot see, as has been claimed, why the absence of General Lee
's cavalry should have justified his attack on the enemy.
On the contrary, while they may have perplexed him, I hold that it was additional reason for his not hazarding an attack.
At the time the attack