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[90]

Letter from Maj. Scheibert, of the Prussian Royal Engineers.

[As the opinion of a distinguished foreigner who witnessed the battle of Gettysburg and has manifested the liveliest interest in the discussion concerning it, the following letter will have an interest for all of our readers; but for those who knew the gallant Prussian, and appreciated his warm sympathy for our struggling people, it will have a peculiar interest.]

Stuttgart, 21st Nov., 1877.
Rev. J. Wm. Jones, Sec'y S. H. Soc'y:
Dear sir: You will, perhaps, be surprised that a foreigner should desire to mingle in the discussion of the battle of Gettysburg; but I have some reasons which urge me to give you my opinion about that affair. 1. I was an impartial observer; 2. I was, so far as I know, the only man on the Southern side who could see everything going on in that battle, having climbed into the top of a very tall tree near Gettysburg, which overlooked all the woody country. I had so good a view that Gen'l Lee himself came up to the tree twice to ask about the positions and movements of the enemy.

It was the same tree upon which Col. Freemantle sat (see Gen'l Hood's letter) until the opening of the battle, when (longing to see a fight, which he had never seen before,) he left his position.

The questions of the English author, whose name I do not know, lead me to suppose that either he is not a soldier or has never studied the war, and they remind me of the questions asked by the famous “Committee on the Conduct of the war,” which made the officers of our army smile.

But the result of those poor questions is a splendid, rich, military harvest, which will most deeply interest every European soldier.

I cannot remember, notwithstanding my earnest studies in military history, one case where the history of a battle has been so fully illustrated and illuminated by individual reports given by all of the prominent leaders — not immediately after the battle, when personal impressions are conflicting, but after a lapse of more than ten years, when time and matured judgment have ripened the


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