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 our trains on the road and burning some of our wagons. Upon the receipt of this intelligence, General Lee ordered me to march as rapidly as possible to the relief of our trains. By a forced march we succeeded in clearing the road and reached Williamsport in time to save our supply trains. We then took position covering the crossing there and at Falling Water, a short distance below. As the other corps arrived they were assigned positions and we went to work, as rapidly as possible to strengthen our line with field-works. On the 13th General Lee informed me that the river had fallen sufficiently at Williamsport to allow us to ford, and that the bridge at Falling Water had been repaired, and that he would that night recross the river with his entire army. I suggested as a matter of convenience and to avoid confusion, that it might be better to pass the trains over that night, with everything not essential to battle, and let his troops remain in position until the night of the 14th; that if the rest of his line was as strong as mine we could easily repulse any attack that might be made, and thus recover some of the prestige lost by the discomfiture at Gettysburg. After we crossed the Potomac we soon found that the Federals were pushing along the west side of the Blue Ridge with the purpose of cutting off our retreat to Richmond. General Lee again sent my corps forward to prevent this effort on the part of General Meade, and we succeeded in clearing the way, and holding it open for the Third corps that followed us. General Ewell, however, was cut off, and was obliged to pass the mountains further south. The First corps reached Culpeper Courthouse on the 24th. In the month of August, 1863, while lying along the Rapidan, I called General Lee's attention to the condition of our affairs in the West, and the progress that was being made by the army under General Rosecranz, in cutting a new line through the State of Georgia, and suggesting that a successful march, such as he had started on would again bisect the Southern country, and that when that was done the war would be virtually over. I suggested that he should adhere to his defensive tactics upon the Rapidan, and reinforce from his army the army lying in front of Rosecranz-so that it could crush that army and then push on to the West. He seemed struck with these views, but was as much opposed to dividing his army as he was in the spring when I first suggested it. He went down to Richmond to arrange for another offensive campaign during the fall. While there several letters passed between us, only two of which I have preserved in connected form. The result of this correspondence was, however, that I was sent with two divisions-Hood's and McLaws'-to reinforce our army then in Georgia. The result of this movement was the defeat of Rosecranz at Chickamauga, when the last hope of the Confederacy expired with the failure of our army to prosecute
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