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[367]
‘This is the first intimation the President has had that such a plan was ever in contemplation, and, taking all things into consideration, he cannot see how it can by any possibility be carried into effect.’

Explaining the difficulty of protecting the railroads near Richmond, the letter even suggested that Lee spare some of his own force to better protect his own communications. This caution was not excessive. The messenger carrying this letter to Lee was captured on July 2, by a raid upon our rear, and, its importance being recognized, it was hurried to Meade and delivered to him on the field of Gettysburg at 4.10 A. M. on July 4. At that hour there was some uncertainty in the Union councils as to their best policy. The facts given in the captured letter of the difficulties of the Confederates, and the impossibility of Lee's receiving any reinforcements, doubtless increased Meade's confidence in all his later movements. The letter was considered of such importance that the officer who brought it, Capt. Ulric Dahlgren, was complimented and promoted.

In May our army was reorganized into three corps, each comprising three divisions of infantry, generally of four brigades each, and five battalions of artillery, averaging 16 guns each. Ewell succeeded Jackson in command of the 2d corps, and A. P. Hill took command of the new 3d corps. He had been an excellent division commander, and done conspicuous fighting and marching in the previous campaigns.1 It has already been said that Stuart would have made a more active and efficient corps commander than Ewell.

1 D. H. Hill also had strong claims for promotion. He had done as much hard fighting as any other general, and had also displayed great ability in holding his men to their work by supervision and example. But at this time he was not with the army, and was in command of the important department south of the James. He was a North Carolinian, and was very acceptable to the State authorities, who objected if too many North Carolinians were taken to Va., leaving N. C. exposed to Federal raids. There was an earnestness about D. H. Hill's fighting which was like Jackson's at its best. Had opportunity come to him, he must have won greater fame. His individuality may be briefly illustrated by an official indorsement placed upon the application of a soldier to be transferred from the infantry to the band.

‘Respectfully forwarded, disapproved. Shooters are more needed than tooters.’

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