Had I taken your advice at Gettysburg instead of pursuing the course I did, how different all things might have been.
A letter from General Fitz Lee
appeared in the public prints very shortly thereafter, and, in that letter, he spoke in very complimentary terms of General Longstreet
, but expressed a desire that the whole of General Lee
's letter, from which the brief extract was given, should be published.
This was the occasion of the publication of the communication in the New Orleans Republican
, from General Longstreet
, which has been referred to. That communication contained a bitter tirade of denunciation against General Fitz Lee
, General William N. Pendleton
, the Rev. J. William Jones
, and myself, the greater part of it being directed against me. Thus originated the “tom-tom warfare,” in which the leading part on our side was borne by me, and two long articles were published on both sides.
It implies no immoderate degree of vanity on my part to say that General Longstreet
came out of the first campaign badly worsted.
The only ground for his complaint against me has been already shown in my reply to his first article in the Philadelphia Times;
and I will take occasion here to say, that I did not suspect him of having employed another to write the two articles then published over his own name.
It was very apparent to me, however, when I read the first article in the Times
, professing to be from him, that the diction was not his, and that he had manifestly been curbed in the expression of his comments on General Lee
's character as a commander, and I accordingly said in my reply that the article was evidently not written by him. I mentioned this fact, not because I thought the article, though exhibiting some improvement on his style, contained any better logic than his own productions had shown, but to prevent the lucubrations of a mere newspaper writer from being taken for the criticisms of a soldier of, at least, some experience.
In the last paper on “The mistakes of Gettysburg
,” published in the Philadelphia Times
of the 23d of February, General Longstreet
is made to say:
One of the chief elements of this tom-tom warfare is found in the fact that, owing to wounds received in the honorable service of my country, which have virtually paralyzed my right arm, and made it impossible for me. to write save under pain and constraint, I have been compelled, in the preparation of my articles, to accept the service of a professional writer generously tendered me by the editor of the Times. Upon such trifling casuals as this do my enemies propose to build their histories and amend mine.
The attempt is at once pitiful and disgraceful.
I cannot but believe that this passage, in thought as well as diction, is wholly the production of the “professional writer” for the Times
. I cannot believe that General Longstreet
has yet arrived at such a stage as to be the prompter of so unmanly an appeal.
He knows very well that there are a number of officers and men who entirely lost their right arms in the war, and are yet able to write with great facility; and it is hardly to be presumed that he suggested that appeal of the “old soldier” for sympathy.