The enemy made no attempt to advance against my part of the line after it had been re-established, and the two armies remained quiet during the remainder of the day — that is, on the right and as far as I could see to my left.
, who succeeded to the command of Semmes
' brigade, has informed me that on the 3d of July himself and General Benning
got an order to join in an assault on Round Top
, but that both refused to obey.
I knew nothing of the order, nor can I conceive who gave it.
My division was withdrawn from the battle-ground with the rest of the army, and retired via Monterey
and Falling Waters
across the Potomac
, without any hindrance from the enemy
It may be remarked, in conclusion, that no one as yet has seemed disposed to give blame to General Lee
--I mean no one who was under his command — but no matter what order he gave, or what resulted from it, if even disaster followed, it has been the disposition to believe that the cause was not in the order but in the execution of it by subordinates.
This resulted in a great measure from that nobility of soul which caused General Lee
to be willing to take the blame on himself and not to try and throw it on others.
He was one of those chosen few in the world, so richly endowed with that Divine quality which made men follow him, attach themselves to him, and do his bidding without question; that he never had to contend against the machinations of the ambitious, the envious or the mischievous.
No matter whether in victory or defeat he had no defection from him, and to the last his commands were obeyed without a murmur.
This great respect and confidence which all had in him prevented or disarmed even a desire to criticise his orders.
And no matter how we may at this day discuss the causes of our failure at Gettysburg
, it remains the general opinion that if General Lee
's orders had been obeyed all would have been well, and that they were not, resulted from causes beyond his control.
And it is due to General Lee
to believe that in those instances where his orders seem now to have been defective, he would, if living, be able to supply such information concerning them as. would make them plain.
In this connection I think the following extract from a report made by Colonel Allan
, of General Ewell
's staff, evidently an unprejudiced and capable gentleman, is worthy of serious consideration.