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[551] front line on our left along the crest of Seminary Ridge, west of the town.1

My loss in the three days fighting at Gettysburg was 154 killed,

1 As there has been much criticism in regard to the management at this battle, and especially in regard to the lateness of the attack on the 2d, I make the following extracts from Swinton's Army of the Potomac. He says:--

Indeed, in entering on the campaign, General Lee expressly promised his corps-commanders that he would not assume a tactical offensive, but force his antagonist to attack him. Having, however, gotten a taste of blood in the considerable success of the first day, the Confederate commander seems to have lost that equipoise in which his faculties commonly moved, and he determined to give battle.

This and subsequent revelations of the purposes and sentiments of Lee I derive from General Longstreet, who, in a full and free conversation with the writer after the close or the war, threw much light on the motives and conduct of Lee during this campaign.

--p. 340.

Longstreet, holding the right of the Confederate line, had one flank securely posted on the Emmettsburg road, so that he was really between the Army of the Potomac and Washington, and by marching towards Frederick could undoubtedly have manoeuvred Meade out of the Gettysburg position. This operation General Longstreet, who foreboded the worst from an attack on the army in position and was anxious to hold General Lee to his promise, begged in vain to be allowed to execute.

“The officer named is my authority for this statement.”--pp. 340-1.

“The absence of Pickett's division the day before made General Longstreet very loth to make the attack; but Lee, thinking the Union force was not all up, would not wait. Longstreet urged in reply that this advantage (or supposed advantage, for the Union force was all up,) was contervailed by the fact that he was not all up either, but the Confederate commander was not minded to delay. My authority it again General Longstreet.”--Foot-note, p. 358.

These extracts will serve to throw much light on the causes of the extraordinary delay in the attack on the 2d, and show who was mainly responsible therefor. The statement that General Lee had promised his corps-commanders not to take the offensive, but force the enemy to attack him, is a very remarkable one; and it is very certain that neither General Ewell nor General Hill claimed the benefit of any such promise, for both of them advanced to the attack on the 1st without General Lee's knowledge even. The “Union force” was not all up when General Lee wanted to make the attack, for Meade's army was arriving all the morning, and Sedgwick's corps (the 6th) did not get up until 2 P. M. A large portion of Meade's army did not get into position until the afternoon, and Sickles did not take the position which Longstreet subsequently attacked until 3 P. M., while Round Top was unoccupied all the forenoon and until after the attack began.--(See the testimony of Meade and his officers in the report before quoted from.) An attack therefore in the early morning or at any time in the forenoon must have resulted in our easily gaining positions which would have rendered the heights of Gettysburg untenable by the enemy. It was the delay which occurred in the attack that thwarted General Lee's well-laid plans.

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