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[119] was held in check at Williamsport until the passage of the Potomac could be safely effected, without any greater diminution of strength than the loss of ten or twelve thousand men — the result of the battle of Gettysburg. These losses were soon replaced, and it was again in a position to assert its strength with effect against the Federal army on the Orange and Alexandria railroad and in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania. Therefore, on the above grounds,----'s opinions in regard to the invasion of Pennsylvania are erroneous. Many of the Northern writers on the War between the States seem to have taken but little pains to extend their search for information much beyond the Federal lines.

Before deciding upon the merits of a military movement it is necessary to understand the motives which dictated it.

2d. “If the invasion was to be undertaken, only raiding parties should have been sent until the Army of the Potomac should have been defeated. It was a great mistake to bring her on the Northern soil, where she fought ten times better than in Virginia. A real invasion, viz: the establishment of the Confederate army in Pennsylvania, with its communications well secured, was an impossibility as long as the Federal army was not crushed. The proof of this is, that as soon as the latter began to move, Lee, who had undertaken nothing but a raid on too large a scale, found himself so much endangered that he was obliged to fight an offersive battle on the ground and where Meade chose to wait for him. He ought to have manoeuvred in Virginia so as to bring on a battle before crossing the Potomac.”

The answer to these questions requires a brief reference to the circumstances which dictated the movement into Pennsylvania.

Shortly after the battle of Chancellorsville the Army of Northern Virginia had, by the return of absentees and the divisions of Longstreet, been increased to sixty-five thousand men, and its recent victories, with the care bestowed on its reorganization, equipment and discipline, made its spirit and efficiency unsurpassed by any army of modern times. This result was chiefly due to the unaided exertions of General Lee.

While the army was in admirable condition, the country at large was beginning to sink into despondency from the want of a reliable financial system, and the rapid diminution of its military resources.

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