previous next


A reading of the testimony before the committee on the conduct of the war (page 408) will show that General Meade fully anticipated my attack on the 3d, and was determined, if we moved our army in a direct column of assault, to attack it upon the flanks and destroy it. He told General Hancock upon the evening of the 3d that if we attacted him “he would throw the Fifth and Sixth Corps upon the enemy's flank.” This determination was thwarted by the position of Hood's and McLaws' divisions, which were in line of battle before him. If I had moved them into the column of assault led by Pickett, as it is absurdly assumed by Colonel Taylor I was expected to do, the two threatening corps would have swept down upon our moving flank, with what effect any military man can easily divine.

The letter from General Longstreet, which accompanies these enclosures, dwells particularly upon a point which he wishes to have his readers understand as the justification of his present narative. It is that while General Lee on the battle-field assumed all the responsibility for the result, he afterward published a report that differs from the report he made at the time while under that generous spirit. General Longstreet and other officers made their official reports upon the battle shortly after its occurrence, and while they were impressed with General Lee's noble assumption of all the blame; but General Lee having since written a detailed and somewhat critical account of the battle-and the account from which General Longstreet's critics get all their points against him-Longstreet feels himself justified in discussing the battle upon its merits. It is in recognition of his soldierly modesty that the substance of his letter is given here; the article is its own sufficient justification.

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
James Longstreet (3)
R. E. Lee (3)
W. H. Taylor (1)
Pickett (1)
Gederal Meade (1)
McLaws (1)
Hood (1)
Winfield Hancock (1)
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.
3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: