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[128]

headquarters Army of the Potomac, February 15, 1865.
Major-General J. J. Peck:
Dear General: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the eighth instant, with the documents enclosed, relating to the defence of Suffolk, in 1863.

The testimony and evidence which you have accumulated, prove most conclusively the importance and value of the services rendered on that occasion by yourself and the gallant army under your command, for which I doubt not full credit will hereafter be awarded you.

Lee's army at Gettysburgh was from forty to fifty thousand stronger than at Chancellorsville, and it is only reasonable to infer that this difference was in front of you at Suffolk.

That with the limited force under your command you should have held in check and defeated the designs of such superior numbers, is a fact of which you may well be proud, and is the most practical proof of your own skill and the gallantry of your troops.

Very respectfully yours,

(Signed)

George G. Meade, Major-General.

Army of Georgia, headquarters left wing, Savannah, Ga., January 1, 1865.
My Dear General:
Your esteemed favor of the twenty-second ultimo, has just come to hand. I was fully convinced, at the battle of Chancellorsville, that the force of the enemy did not exceed fifty thousand men, of all arms, and was satisfied at the time that but a small portion of Longstreet's command was in our front.

I believe that the force of the enemy in your front, at Suffolk, far exceeded your own ; and I think the gratitude of the nation is due to you and your gallant army for the important services performed at that point.

I am, General,

Very truly your friend

And obedient servant,

(Signed)

H. W. Slocum, Major-General. Major-General J. J. Peck, New York.

My theory is proved by these witnesses from General Hooker's army. No higher evidence can be produced. General Stoneman had all the railways in his hands, just outside of Richmond. General Slocum had the confidence of his commander, and was thanked by him in orders. The President made General Meade the successor of General Hooker, with the concurrence of all his leading officers.

This evidence is in harmony with all that of the army of Suffolk. In my possession is a communication from General Hill to Lieutenant-General Longstreet, commanding department of Virginia and North Carolina, in which he reports the arrival of a “division,” and asks for orders. It bears date second May, 1863, and fell into our hands on the fourth, as also did Longstreet's servants and horses, a few miles from Suffolk.

This division came by the Weldon railway to Franklin, and marched twenty miles, being engaged, on the third, at Suffolk. Had Longstreet wished to send troops to Chancellorsville (third), why did not this division keep the rail? By coming to Suffolk it lost more than two full days.

Longstreet's army did not pass through Richmond until after the tenth of May. The rear guard left the Blackwater on the eleventh, and was met by our exchanged officers, near the city, on the thirteenth or fourteenth of May.

General Lee's testimony.

Lee, in his report of Chancellorsville transmitted to the rebel Congress by Jefferson Davis, December thirty-first, 1863, says of Longstreet, that he “was detached for service south of the James River in February, and did not rejoin the army until after the battle of Chancellorsville.”


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