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[117] difficult, and that the battle was fiercely maintained at various points for three days.

There is no doubt that the first aim of General Lee in his movement from Fredericksburg to the valley of Virginia and thence across the Potomac, was to thwart the plan of the Union commander against Richmond, and to draw the Federal army from Virginia. For General Lee states this expressly in his report. But it is certain that the Confederate commander never for a moment supposed that he could take a large army into Pennsylvania and continue there many weeks without fighting a great battle somewhere. This, General Lee hoped to do on ground of his own choice; with deliberate plan, and under circumstances entirely favorable to success.

We are to see how these reasonable expectations were defeated by adverse circumstances; disobedience of orders by his commander of cavalry, and want of concerted action and vigorous onset among his corps commanders at critical moments in the assaults of each of the three days.

But my object is not now to give a history of the battle of Gettysburg, but to relate the movements which came under my own notice, and which may help to throw light on what is now obscure, and I propose, comrades, in what I have to say, to make it principally the relation of a simple narrative of events in which I was an humble actor. I shall not make any effort whatever to throw around the events related, any attractions beyond that grave, and to us always intensified interest, with which the plain facts invest them.

Next to the general results of a battle or of a campaign, and scarcely less important and interesting, has it this day become the occurrences, details and true facts, if I may so speak, mingling with, effecting, and in part producing the final result. In a word, we want to know how and why a battle was lost or won, and why a campaign failed. ‘Truth and facts,’ says Carlyle, ‘are inexorable things, and whether recognized or not, they decide the fate of battles, and mould the destiny of kingdoms and of men.’

It is on account of the numerous misrepresentations, errors and omissions which I see contained in reports of commanders, and description of battles in historical works of the late war, which from personal knowledge I know to be in circulation, that I have often expressed a wish that each actor, however humble, in a battle or march, should put in writing what has come under his own notice, a relation of facts, about which there could be no mistake, because actually witnessed. If we had a collection of such data from generals

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