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[187] turned off four miles northwest on to the Cashtown road, then at 3 or 4 o'clock of July 1st Early would have found the Federal corps holding a strong position across his road with fully three times his numbers, and no help nearer than four or five miles. This would have brought on battle at a late hour in the evening when too late to defeat and drive the enemy from their position. All honor is due General Heth and his noble division for pressing the enemy and enabling Rodes and Pender and Early to secure a severely-fought battle. The cause of surprise was want of cavalry but the cause of battle was that the Federal corps commander had seized the ridge north and west of Gettysburg, which blocked the road by which the Confederate corps of Hill and Ewell were converging on Cashtown. Why need we look any further for causes. It sufficeth that the same All-wise Ruler of events that permitted Ashby and ‘StonewallJackson to be shot in front and perhaps by their own men, and afterwards permitted J. E. B. Stuart to fall after victory by the seeming accidental shot of a Federal trooper, who was fleeing from our lines; the same Ruler permitted the otherwise invincible Army of Northern Virginia and its beloved general to suffer a repulse at Gettysburg.

Respectfully,

Jaquelin Marshall Meredith, Chaplain of 47th Virginia Infantry, Heth's Division, A. P. Hill's Corps, A. N.Va., C. S. Wide Water, Va., March 31, 1896.

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