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[73]

Lee and Longstreet. [from the Richmond times, June 14, 1896.]

Editor of the Times:
Sir,—I have read the review of General Longstreet's book, ‘From Manassas to Appomattox,’ by the London Daily Telegraph, with much interest. We naturally feel anxious about the conclusions of the impartial and unbiased foreign student of history concerning the events of the war between the States, and especially as to his estimate of the leaders on the Southern side. This review, however, apppears to me to have been suggested by some one nearer home; and, as I read between the lines, I fancy that I hear the partisan here prompting the reviewer over there. Who on the other side of the Atlantic could claim to be so well informed of public sentiment in Virginia during the eventful years of 1862 and 1863 as to be able to assert that ‘controversy raged high in Richmond between the followers of Lee and Johnston as to their relative merit,’ which is a great exaggeration, or to say that ‘Longstreet was distinctly of opinion that General Johnston, as a soldier, was General Lee's superior?’ Where is the authority for this latter assertion? General Longstreet had served under General Johnston up to the battle of Seven Pines, and after that under General Lee; he had been in position to form his own estimate of the ability of each of these great commanders, and no doubt had his own views of their relative merit; but I do not believe that he ever during the war said one word to justify the conclusion of the London Telegraph. Read what General Longstreet wrote to General Lee on the eve of his departure for Tennessee in the fall of 1863. Under date of September 12th he wrote:

‘If I did not think our move a necessary one, my regrets at leaving you would be distressing to me as it seems to be with the officers and men of my command. Believing it to be necessary, I hope to accept it and my other personal inconveniences cheerfully and hopefully. All that we have to be proud of has been accomplished under your eye and under your orders. Our affections for you are stronger, if it is possible for them to be stronger, than our admiration for you.’

Does that read as if General Longstreet was but a lukewarm, reluctant


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