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[164]

The letter from General Longstreet which accompanies these enclosures, dwells particularly upon a point which he wishes to have his readers understand. It is that while General Iee on the battle-field assumed all the responsibility for the result, he afterwards 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 the. 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, Longstreet feels himself justified in discussing the battle upon its merits.

Whilst claiming the same privilege as a Confedrate soldier, I, yet, would not have exercised it, being only a cavalryman, who added to his “jingling spur” not even a “bright sabretache,” but only a poor record, were it not my good fortune to have known long and intimately the Commander-in-Chief, and to have conversed with him frequently during and since the war, upon the operations of the Army of Northern Virginia.

First then, let us examine the charge that the battle of Gettysburg was lost by the “absence of our cavalry.” The cavalry of General Lee's army in the Gettysburg campaign consisted of the brigades of Hampton, Fitzhugh Lee, W. H. F. Lee's (under Chambliss), Beverly Robertson, Wm. E. Jones, Imboden, and Jenkins, with a battalion under Colonel White. The first three named accompanied Stuart on his circuit around the Federal army, reaching Gettysburg on the 2nd of July-Jones and Robertson were left to hold the gaps of the Blue Ridge, and did not get to the vicinity of Gettysburg until after the battles; so that of all the force I enumerate, Jenkins' brigade and White's battalion alone crossed the Potomac with the army. (Imboden's command was detached along the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, and was not in the fight at Gettysburg). Stuart after fighting at Brandy Station, on the 9th of June, a large body of Federal cavalry supported by infantry, and forcing them to recross the Rappahannock river with a loss (to them) of “four hundred prisoners, three pieces of artillery, and several colors,” (General Lee's report), marched into Loudoun county upon the right flank of the army, and was engaged in a series of conflicts, terminating with Pleasonton's cavalry corps and Barnes' division of infantry, upon the 21st June, which caused him to retire to the vicinity of Ashby's Gap in the Blue Ridge, our infantry being upon the western side of the mountains.

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