doubtless, very brilliant in the dress given them by “the professional writer” of the Philadelphia Times;
but when General Longstreet
undertakes to blow his own trumpet, at the expense of others, he must not complain if its discordant notes are drowned by the sound of the tom-tom, nor, when he decks himself in stolen feathers, if he shares the fate of the jackdaw.
He very evidently does not agree with the poet, that-
Truth crushed to earth shall rise again:
The eternal years of God are hers.
He has no confidence in her unaided efforts to make herself known, and hence he applies himself to the work of helping her out of the dirt and mud most manfully; and after tugging at her skirts for some time, he presents to the public gaze a brazen-faced image, in which are to be recognized none of the lineaments of the diffident and modest goddess.
Very soon after the war, in what Svinton designates as “a full and free conversation” with him, General Longstreet
made the statements upon which were based the very severe criticisms of that writer on General Lee
's conduct of the Gettysburg campaign
; and when General Lee
's letter to President Davis
, written a short time after the close of that campaign, was made public, a little more than two years ago, General Longstreet
hastened to publish the above-mentioned letter to his uncle.
In General Lee
's very self-abnegating letter to the President
, there occurs this passage:
Everything therefore points to the advantages to be derived from a new commander, and I the more anxiously urge the matter upon your Excellency, from my belief that a younger and abler man than myself can readily be obtained.
I know that he will have as gallant and brave an army as ever existed to second his efforts, and it would be the happiest day of my life to see at its head a worthy leader; one that would accomplish more than I could perform, and all that I have wished.
In a communication, over his signature, in the New Orleans Republican
of the 27th of February, 1876, General Longstreet
, referring to his letter to his uncle, said:
His [Longstreet's] letter was published owing to its corroborative and sympathetic relations to one of General R. E. Lee written two weeks later.
The publication was made following the publication of General R. E. Lee's, so that the facts might be known and noted in their proper connection, not in attack or defence of any one.
The letter of General Lee
here referred to is the one to the President
from which the foregoing extract is made, and the only part of it to which Longstreet
's could bear the remotest “corroborative and sympathetic relations” is the passage given — that is, Longstreet
's letter was corroborative of the opinion that a younger and abler leader for the army could have been obtained, and sympathetic with it in pointing out who that leader should have been — to wit: General James Longstreet
Accompanying the publication of the letter to his uncle, General Longstreet
gave the following extract from a letter to him from General Lee
, dated, as alleged, in January, 1864: