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[425] wished. I hope Your Excellency will attribute my request to the true reason—the desire to serve my country and to do all in my power to insure the success of her righteous cause.

In reply, President Davis wrote, among other things:

I am truly sorry to know that you still feel the effects of the illness you suffered last spring, and can readily understand the embarrassment you experience in using the eyes of others, having been so accustomed to making your own reconnoissances. . . . But suppose, my dear friend, that I were to admit, with all their implications. the points which you present, where am I to find that new commander who is to possess the greater ability which you believe to be required?. . To ask me to substitute you by some one in my judgment more fit to command, or who would possess more of the confidence of the army, or of reflecting men of the country, is to demand an impossibility.

Lee's morning reports show that by the 10th of August, by returns from hospitals and elsewhere, his army had increased to 58,600 men. On the 9th of September, he detached Longstreet, with two of his divisions, to help Bragg, in Tennessee, keep back Rosecrans from marching farther up the Great valley toward Virginia, leaving with himself some 46,000 men. Longstreet wrote, in farewell to Lee, speaking for himself and his corps: ‘Our affections for you are stronger, if it is possible for them to be stronger, than our admiration for you.’

On the 13th of September, Meade advanced, from beyond the Rappahannock, to learn what Lee was doing; the latter awaited an attack in the position he had chosen and partially fortified, in front of Orange Court House, overlooking the Rapidan. Meade took a distant look at the preparations made for him, and then withdrew to camps in Culpeper.

After learning of the battle at Chickamauga, Lee, on the 25th, wrote pleasantly to Longstreet:

My whole heart and soul have been with you and your brave corps in your late battle. It was natural to hear of Longstreet and Hill (D. H.) charging side by side, and pleasing to find the armies of the east and west vying with each other in valor and devotion to their country . . . . Finish the work before you, my dear general, and return to me; I want you badly, and you cannot get back too soon.

On the 9th of October, Lee again took the offensive and crossed the Rapidan to attack Meade, taking a concealed and circuitous route, hoping to flank him and bring him to battle on the plains of Culpeper; but the Federal commander, who professed to have marched all the way from Gettysburg seeking a battle,

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