Gettysburg — the battle on the right.
[If any of our readers are weary of our Gettysburg series, we will say for their comfort that we have probably nearly reached the end. But we have, from all parts of this country and from Europe, the warmest expressions of interest in these papers and high appreciation of their great historic value.
The article which follows treats of movements which have not yet been fully detailed, and will be found to be a very readable paper.]
I have read with deep interest the historical articles contributed to the press within the last twelve months by writers from different sections of the Union
, but none of them have interested me so much as those on the Pennsylvania
campaign and the battle of Gettysburg
, because I have always regarded the battle as the turning point in the great struggle--“the war between the States” --which culminated in the overthrow of the Confederacy
I am not a fatalist, nor a believer in destiny, and hence cannot say of Gettysburg
, as Victor Hugo
did of Waterloo
, “that God passed over the battle field.”
I believe in responsibility for human conduct, and although the Federals
greatly outnumbered the Confederates
, yet the disparity was not so great as on many other fields where the latter had been completely victorious.
The army under Lee
was. never much stronger numerically, nor its condition better than at Gettysburg
The rank and file were never more confident of success.
I therefore conclude that some one “blundered.”
Modesty would dictate to me silence in the discussion of the great battle, but the truth of history can be vindicated only by bringing all the testimony before the impartial reader.
Mine is of no great importance as to the humble part I bore, but from the position I happened to occupy on the field, I do know some facts which have an important bearing on the question of responsibility for the failure of the Confederates
to win the battle.
The campaign may have been an unwise or ill advised one, but General Lee
, in his nobleness of soul, put that question beyond discussion by assuming, more than was chargeable to him, the entire responsibility of the failure.
, Colonel Taylor
and others have charged General Longstreet
with the loss of the battle, and he has, with much ingenuity, attempted a refutation of the charge; and has, perhaps, to the minds of most men, at least partially, succeeded.
Their charges are based upon his disobedience of orders to attack the Federals
early on the morning of the 2d of July, and upon his inactivity and