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[58] in speaking of the partisan corps, which he calls “guerrilla bands,” he says: “I had constantly refused to operate against these bands, believing them to be, substantially, a benefit to me, as they prevented straggling and kept my trains well closed up, and discharged such other duties as would have required a provost guard of at least two regiments of cavalry.” He is here speaking of the principal corps of that kind that operated in Virginia. I am of opinion that mere raiding parties sent north of the Potomac would have done much to arouse and excite the population to a stronger support of the war, without any compensating damage to the enemy or benefit to us.

I must here admonish you not to confound my expedition into Maryland, and up to the fortifications of Washington, with what were merely raids. That expedition, though frequently called a raid, was not undertaken as such, but Gen. Lee's real purpose in sending me on it was to induce the withdrawal of troops from Grant's army, and eventually the abandonment of the siege of Richmond, which he saw was inevitable, and would result in the final capture of the city, unless a diversion was made. It was a forlorn hope, it is true, but I think it is unquestionable that it had a very considerable effect in prolonging the contest before Richmond by the detention in the Valley until the close of the year, not only of the troops that belonged to the Department of West Virginia, but also of two corps of infantry and two divisions of cavalry that had been sent from Grant's army.

My observation did not lead me to the conclusion, at which you seem to have arrived, that, on Northern soil, the Army of the Potomac “fought ten times better than in Virginia.” I did not observe that the fighting at Gettysburg by that army was i.n any way superior to what I had seen it do before. You must make some allowance for the “poetic license” which writers and speakers on the Northern side have taken in describing the deeds of Meade's soldiers at Gettysburg, and in putting dramatic exclamations into their mouths. Those writers


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