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[31]

Confesses his mistake.

The first year of the war Ewell told the Rev. Dr. M. D. Hoge that while he knew that Jackson was brave, he doubted his judgment. Subsequently he acknowledged to Dr. Hoge that he had been mistaken as to Jackson's judgment, and, further, that the chances of the South would have been improved had he been made dictator. There can be no question of the effect of General Jackson's unswerving faith and exalted piety, seen in every phase of his life by the soldiers of the Confederate army with whom he came in contact. After the close of the battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862, General Ewell, with General D. H. Hill, went to Jackson's quarters, a short distance from the field. General Hill said something to Jackson in a jocular way about his being so far from his command. Jackson replied that ‘there was nothing doing, and that being the case he might as well be there as anywhere else,’ or words to that effect. This I was told by General Ewell the next morning. During the night of July 1st McClellan retreated to Harrison's Landing, less than half a day's march from Malvern Hill. The Confederate army reached his front about midday Friday, July 4th. ‘General Jackson was chafing like a lion at the delay,’ and found the position too strong to be attacked. (Dabney's Life of Jackson.) General Barnard, United States engineer, a prominent member of McClellan's staff, told me since 1865 that when the United States army reached Harrison's Landing, after Malvern Hill, it was so disorganized in every respect if it had been followed within twelve hours by the Confederate army and the heights commanding the landing occupied, a surrender would have been inevitable. By that time order had been evolved from chaos and the position made tenable. In the April number of 1873 of the ‘Southern Historical Society PapersGeneral Lee is represented as saying ‘If I had had Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg, we would have won a great victory.’ It is difficult for any reader of Jackson's campaigns not to come to the same conclusion, and it is no more reflection on any of them to say they were not Marlboroughs, Napoleons or Von Moltkes. Under Jackson's example doubts and delays would have been replaced by decisions and prompt action, and in all probability the Federal army would, notwithstanding General Meade's ability and energy, have been defeated in detail before the short time at his disposal enabled him to concentrate his scattered corps.

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