previous next

[77] less fully discussed in my article on Gettysburg in the Southern Review, April, 1868. The views therein expressed as to the motives, policy, conduct and results of that campaign, I have reason to know agreed substantially with those of General Lee. I have procured a copy of the Review, corrected the errors and missprints, and sent it to---, through the address in Philadelphia you gave me. I will add a few notes here:

1st. ---- thinks it was “a mistake to invade the Northern States at all” in 1863. There were undoubted evils in such a course as --- clearly states, but he leaves out of view the fact that only a “choice of evils” existed for an army greatly inferior in numbers and resources in the presence of a powerful adversary — an adversary severely checked, it is true, at Chancellorsville, but with ample means of quickly repairing his losses, with absolute command of the water, and the consequent power to penetrate Virginia in half a dozen places whenever he chose to do so. It was impossible to attack Hooker at Fredericksburg, when he was only 10 or 12 miles from his base on the water. As Lee moved northward Hooker kept his forces in front of Washington, and so near it as to offer no opportunity to his antagonist. It was only after Lee had crossed the Potomac and excited apprehension in regard to one or more of the large Northern cities that he could get the Federal army far enough away from its base, or from fortified lines, to attack it. His march diverted their campaign from a movement against Richmond to the defence of Washington, and at the same time brought him within reach of ample supplies. But suppose Lee had remained at Fredericksburg on the strict defensive. This was to lose the results of the advantages gained at Chancellorsville. It was to yield a large part of the best grain producing portions of Virginia to the enemy. In a few weeks the Federal army would have been ready to move against him. His position could be easily turned because of the Federal command of the water. It was possible for the Federal army at any time to establish itself by

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fitzhugh Lee (4)
Hooker (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April, 1868 AD (1)
1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: