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[199] witnessed the unhorsing of the entire party. I desire here to brand upon its perpetrator a falsehood, and correct an error.

The commander of the Federal forces--General Meade--reported to his Government, on the statement of General Kilpatrick, that he (General Kilpatrick) had captured a brigade of infantry at Falling Waters. To this General Lee replied in a note to General Cooper that no organized command had been captured.

General Meade recently wrote a note to his Government reaffirming his first statement, Upon the authority of General Kilpatrick. General Kilpatrick, in order to glorify himself, has told a deliberate falsehood. He knows full well that no organized body of men were captured — not even a company was captured, nor the majority of a single company. He asserts, however, that he captured an entire brigade.

The error I wish to correct is attributing all the men captured by the enemy on the 14th as belonging to my command. I think I state correctly when I say that three out of four of the men captured by the enemy were captured between our works near Hagerstown and the point where I engaged the enemy, and were the representatives of every corps, division and brigade who passed over this road. My staff officers alone succeeded in driving from barns and houses, immediately on the roadside, several hundred stragglers, who probably never reached their commands, and these were but a small proportion of the men who straggled.

In conclusion, I will add that the brigade commanders did their duty, and the losses sustained were not attributable to any errors or short-comings of theirs, but resulted from causes beyond their control.

The rear guard of a large army, protecting its crossing over a wide river, can seldom fail to lose heavily if vigorously pursued by the enemy, especially when in the act of crossing. Under the circumstances, attacked as we were by a large and momentarily increasing force, we have every reason to be thankful that our losses were so small.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. Heth, Major-General.

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