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[77] order on the night of the 1st). General Ewell made me ride with him from point to point of his lines, so as to see with him the exact position of things. Before he got through the examination of the enemy's position General Lee came himself to General Ewell's lines. In sending the message to General Ewell, General Lee was explicit in saying that the question was whether he should move all the troops around on the right and attack on that side. I do not think that the errand on which I was sent by the Commanding General is consistent with the idea of an attack at sunrise by any portion of the army.

Yours, very truly,
Chas. S. Venable.

I add upon this point the letter of Dr. Cullen, medical director of the First corps:

dear General-Yours of the 16th ult. should have received my immediate attention, but before answering it I was desirous of refreshing my memory of the scenes and incidents of the Gettysburg campaign by conversation with others who were with us and who served in different corps of the command. It was an astounding announcement to the survivors of the First army corps that the disaster and failure at Gettysburg was alone and solely due to its commander, and that had he obeyed the orders of the commander-in-chief that Meade's army would have been beaten, before its entire force had assembled, and its final discomfiture thereby made certain. It is a little strange that these charges were not made while General Lee was alive to substantiate or disprove them, and that seven years or more were permitted to pass by in silence regarding them. You are fortunate in being able to call upon the AdjutantGeneral and the two confidential officers of General Lee's staff for their testimony in the case, and I do not think that you will have any reason to fear their evidence. They knew every order that was issued for that battle, when and where attacks were to be made, who were slow in attacking, and who did not make attacks that were expected to be made. I hope, for the sake of history and for your brave military record, that a quietus will at once be put on this subject. I distinctly remember the appearance in our headquarter camp of the scout who brought from Frederick the first account that General Lee had of the definite whereabouts of the enemy; of the excitement at General Lee's headquarters among couriers, quartermasters, commissaries, etc., all betoking some early movement of the commands dependent upon the news brought by the scout. That afternoon General Lee was walking with some of us in the road in front of his headquarters and said: “To-morrow, gentlemen, we will not move to Harrisburg as we expected, but will go over to Gettysburg and see what General lMeade is after.” Orders had then been issued to the corps to move at sunrise on the morning of the next day, and promptly at that time the corps was put on the road. The troops moved slowly a short distance when they were stopped by Ewell's wagon trains and Johnson's division turning into the road in front of them, making their way from some point north to Cashtown or Gettysburg. How many hours we were detained I am unable to say, but it must have been many, for I remember eating a lunch or dinner before moving again. Being anxious to see you I rode rapidly by the troops (who, as soon as they could get into the road, pushed hurriedly by us also), and overtook you about dark at the hill this side of Gettysburg, about half a mile from the


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Fitzhugh Lee (7)
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