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 make good their retreat, and we should soon have been obliged to retire to Virginia with nothing but victory to cover our waning cause. The morale of the victory might have dispirited the North and aroused the South to new exertions, but it would have been nothing in the game being played by the two armies at Gettysburg. As to the abandonment of the tactical defensive policy that we had agreed upon, there can be no doubt that General Lee deeply deplored it as a mistake. His remark, madb just after the battle, “It is all my fault,” meant just what it said. It adds to the nobility and magnanimity of that remark when we reflect that it was the utterance of a deep-felt truth rather than a mere sentiment. In a letter written to me by General Lee in January, 1864, he says: “Had I taken your advice at Gettysburg instead of pursuing the course I did, how different all might have been.” Captain T. J. Gorie, of Houston, Texas, a gentleman of high position and undoubted integrity, writes to me upon this same point as follows: “Another important circumstance which I distinctly remember was in the winter of 1864, when you sent me from East Tennessee to Orange Courthouse with dispatches for General Lee. Upon my arrival there General Lee asked me in his tent, where he was alone with two or three Northern papers on his table. He remarked that he had just been reading the Northern official report of the Battle of Gettysburg; that he had become satisfied from reading those reports that if he had permitted you to carry, out your plans on the third day, instead of making the attack on Cemetery Hill, we would have been successful.” I cannot see, as has been claimed, why the absence of General Lee's cavalry should have justified his attack on the enemy. On the contrary, while they may have perplexed him, I hold that it was additional reason for his not hazarding an attack. At the time the attack was ordered we were fearful that our cavalry had been destroyed. In case of a disaster, and a forced retreat, we should have had nothing to cover our retreat. When so much was at stake as at Gettysburg the absence of the cavalry should have prevented the taking of any chances. As to the failure of Stuart to move with the army to the west side of the Blue Ridge, I can only call attention to the fact that General Lee gave him discretionary orders. He doubtless did. as he thought best. Had no discretion been given him he would have known and fallen into his natural position-my right flank. But authority thus given a subordinate general implies an opinion on the part of the commander that something better than the drudgery of a march along our flank might be open to him, and one of General Stuart's activity and gallantry should not be expected to fail to seek it. As to Ewell's failure to prosecute the advantage won on the 1st, there is little to be said, as the Commanding-General was on the field. I merely quote from his (General Ewell's)
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