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[424] wrote to President Davis, from ‘Camp Orange,’ on the 8th of August, thanking him for his efforts to supply the wants of his army, commending the proclamation he had issued to the people, and hoping that would ‘stir up their virtue . . . that they may see their duty and perform it;’ cheerfully and hopefully adding, ‘Nothing is wanted but that their fortitude should equal their bravery to insure the success of our cause. We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters. Our people have only to be true and united, to bear manfully the misfortunes incident to war, and all will come right in the end.’ After mentioning the proneness of men to censure those who do not meet their expectations, Lee said: ‘The general remedy for the want of success in a military commander is removal. This is natural, and, in many instances, proper. For, no matter what may be the ability of an officer, if he loses the confidence of his troops, disaster must sooner or later ensue.’

The general commanding further stated, that since his return from Pennsylvania he had been intending to propose that another commander should be selected for his army; he had noted the discontent of the newspapers at the result of his campaign; did not know how far such feeling might exist in the army, as he had had no evidence of it from officers or men, but it was fair to suppose that it did exist, and, as success is a necessity, nothing should be risked to secure it. He continued:

I therefore, in all sincerity, request Your Excellency to supply my place. I do this with the more earnestness because no one is more aware than myself of my inabilities for the duties of my position. I cannot even accomplish what I myself desire. How can I fulfill the expectations of others? In addition, I sensibly feel the growing failure of my bodily strength. I have not yet recovered from the attack I experienced the past spring. I am becoming more and more incapable of exertion, and am thus prevented from making the personal examinations and giving the personal supervision to the operations in the field which I feel necessary. I am so dull that in making use of the eyes of others I am frequently misled. Everything, therefore, points to the advantages to be derived from a new commander, and I the more anxiously urge the matter upon Your Excellency from my belief that a younger and abler man than myself can readily be obtained. I know that he will have as gallant and brave an army as ever existed to second his efforts, and it would be the happiest day of my life to see at its head a worthy leader—one that could accomplish more than I could perform and all that I have

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