co-operate in the charge, has no right to complain that that charge was hopeless from the beginning.
It was his own conduct that contributed to make it so.
It is evidently assumed by the writer of both articles that there is some magic charm in the phrase “offensive in strategy but defensive in tactics,” which settles the whole question as to the propriety of the attack on Meade
, and hence it is given with a “damnable iteration” that may serve to confuse and delude those unskilled in warfare, but when applied to the Pennsylvania
campaign, which was a campaign of invasion by the weaker against the stronger power, the phrase becomes the veriest nonsense.
The only chance for success in such a campaign was, when the opportunity occurred, to strike blows on the enemy quick and fast, so that he should not have the opportunity of concentrating his superior forces to overwhelm his weaker assailant.
That General Longstreet
's idea, “to throw ourselves between the enemy and Washington
, select a: strong position, and force the enemy to attack us,” was entirely impracticable, as well as unsustained by sound logic or wisdom, I hold to be fully demonstrable:
Because General Lee
, a consummate master of the art of war, to whom the proposition was submitted, so thought-and decided.
Because, to get between Meade
's army and Washington
, we would have had to make a wide circuit, and Meade
, having the inner and shorter line, would have been able to thwart the attempt, while our trains would have been exposed to destruction, during the movement, by the enemy's cavalry and French's force at Frederick
, in the absence of our own cavalry.
Because we were entirely dependent upon the enemy's country for food and forage for our men, horses, and mules, and when it became necessary for our army to concentrate in the presence of the enemy, it became impossible to send out foraging parties to obtain sufficient supplies of provisions and forage.
The consequence, therefore, must have been, if Meade
had pursued what would have been his very obvious policy, to-wit: to assume a position sufficiently near us to render necessary the continued concentration of our army, that we would have been compelled to attack him after his army had been considerably reinforced and strengthened, to retreat for the purpose of getting supplies, or to be reduced to a state of starvation, and thus become an easy prey to the enemy.
The idea that popular clamor, through the newspapers, would have compelled Meade
to attack us at once, is absurd.
It presupposes that he was wholly incompetent to the command of the large army under him, or that he was weak enough to yield to a senseless clamor in opposition to his own judgment.
He would have had to wait but a very few days, if he had pursued his true policy, to vindicate its wisdom and put to shame the clamorers for immediate attack.
French had 8,000 men at Frederick
, with 4,000 more somewhere on the way between Harper's Ferry
had put into the field, under a call of President Lincoln
for the emergency, 32,104 well-equipped militia; and New York had sent forward 13,971 men, under the same call, as shown by the final report of the Provost-Marshal