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[61] with Washington to threaten it, we would have had to make a wide circuit, while he had the inner and shorter line. If we had undertaken to get between him and Washington, he could have retired to Westminster, from whence there was a railroad to Baltimore, or to some point on the Northern Central railroad, and have run into Washington by rail before we could have gotten half way there, if he had desired to do so. Or, taking a bolder course, he might have moved down by the way of Ernmettsbnrg to Frederick, Md., where he would have been joined by 10,000 men under French,. taken possession of the passes of South mountain, and thus been on the line of our communications. If we had moved on Washington, we would have been followed on our heels, and while we had the strong fortifications of that city in our front, we would have had Meade's army in our rear. In any event, we would have been in a most hazardous position, with no prospect of escape in case of a defeat, for we could not have gotten near enough to Meade's line of communications to endanger them without crossing the Monocacy and goirig at least as far as Taneytown; where we would have been out of reach of the passes of South mountain. This idea about our being able to threaten Meade's communications by extending our right on the Emmettsburg road, has grown out of an entire misapprehension of the topography of the country.

Your fifth proposition, that “The heroic but foolish attack of Pickett on the 3d, should never have been attempted,” may now appear very plain in the light of what actually happened. We have in our country a homely saying of some backwoodsman, that, “If a man's foresight was as good as his hindsight he wouldn't so often go wrong,” which has a vast deal of sound practical philosophy in it. You and I, with a full knowledge of the facts and circumstances attending any military movement, acquired by subsequent developments, may be able to perceive where mistakes were made; but how would it have been if we had been called on to direct that movement with only the knowledge possessed by him who did direct it?

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