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[56] for Hooker would have moved back into the defences of that city on the south, and if we could have entered them we would then have had to cross the Potomac, which would have been an impossibility.

To threaten Washington, therefore, it was necessary to pass through the lower valley and cross the Potomac into Maryland, which amounted to an invasion.

General Lee adopted a plan, which was a combination of the last two plans mentioned, as open to us, to-wit: to draw Itooker out from his position, and transfer the scene of hostilities north of the Potomac, as you will perceive from the succinct but very clear statement of his purposes contained in his report. Looker hugged too closely the defences of Washington for us to attack him south of the Potomac, and hence we crossed that stream without fighting him.

If we could have gained a decided victory north of the Potomac, it would have done more to produce a financial crisis at the North and secure our independence than a succession of victories on the soil of Virginia. I have always been and still am firmly convinced that, if General Lee's plans and orders had been promptly and strictly carried out, we would have gained such a victory at Gettysburg. I am, therefore, of opinion that the invasion of Pennsylvania, when undertaken, was a wise and judicious movement, notwithstanding the fate that attended it. It is true that it may be looked upon as somewhat of the nature of a forlorn hope, but it was our best chance for success, and we should have taken it.

I also dissent from your second proposition, that “If the invasion, was to be undertaken, only raiding parties should lave been sent.” My observation during the war led me to the conviction that raiding parties generally resulted in more damage to the raiders than to the opposite side. Such was undoubtedly the case with Stuart's famous raid around McClellan's army, through Maryland and Pennsylvania, in October, 1862. The Dutch farmers and housewives in Pennsylvania were probably very badly frightened, but the loss in disabled

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H. B. Lee (2)
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