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[286] General, page 53, (Documents 1865-‘6). Other troops were on their way from North Carolina and the Virginia Peninsula. The greater part of all these troops, and probably a considerable portion of the troops still in the defenses of Washington, especially south of the Potomac, would have been added to Meade's army, before he would have attacked us, and in the meantime troops would probably have been brought from the West, over the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, to cut off our retreat across the Potomac; and then, with our army weakened and demoralized by starvation, what would have been the result? If we had attempted a retreat on the eve of starvation, it would have been a disorderly one, and our army would have become thoroughly demoralized in the search for food to stay the cravings of hunger. The consequence would have been total and inevitable destruction, unless we began the retreat before the crisis arrived. Such considerations as these, doubtless, presented themselves to General Lee, but they seem never to have penetrated General Longstreet's brain.

He thinks Meade would certainly have attacked us at once, if we had awaited his attack, or, by abandoning his position, given us the moral effect of a victory, because, in a telegram to Halleck he said:

If not attacked and I can get any positive information of the enemy which will justify me in doing so, I will attack. If I find it hazardous to do so, and am satisfied that the enemy is endeavoring to move to my rear and interpose between me and Washington, I shall fall back on my supplies at Westminster.

Longstreet's deduction from this is most illogical. All the inferences from his telegram are that Meade would not have attacked us in our then position, unless he could do so to great advantage, and the fact is that, after a reconnoissance, he abandoned the only project of attack which he formed, to-wit: from his right against our left flank. If we had abandoned our position after the success of the first day, the moral effect upon our own men would have been that of a defeat. If we had moved to Meade's left to get between him and Washington, and he had made a corresponding movement to protect his supplies and his communications, it is impossible to conceive how that could have given us the moral effect of a victory. That he would not have followed us at once to attack us in any new position we may have taken to threaten his communications with Washington, is shown by his own declared purpose in this telegram. His policy, doubtless, would have been, after securing his depot and rendering his own supplies certain, to take and fortify some position near us, and then the results already indicated would, unquestionably, have ensued.

There is no reason to suppose that Meade would have been more prompt to attack us in position on the heights of Gettysburg, if we had gained that position on the 1st, than he showed himself to attack us in the position on Seminary Ridge, with our left extended in a curve through Gettysburg. He did not attack us on the 4th in our then position on Seminary Ridge, after the disastrous repulse of the day before; nor did he dare attack us, afterwards, in

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