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‘ [239] Early's capacity and energy as displayed in the campaign while General Breckenridge was with him.’ As General Breckenridge had been urged by Governor Smith as Early's successor, this excerpt very naturally ended the correspondence. And there is every reason to believe that General Lee went to his grave with his estimate of General Early unchanged. The following is taken from President Davis's endorsement on the correspondence between Governor Smith and General Lee:

‘With less opportunity to learn all the facts than General Lee possessed, I had reached the conclusion which he expresses. With the knowledge acquired after events, it is usually easy to point out modes which would have been better than those adopted. . . . A gallant officer who was with General Early in all his movements until the battle of Winchester, in which he was wounded, has given me a very favorable account of his conduct as a commander, and certainly differs very decidedly from the correspondent of the Governor as to the estimate in which General Early is held by the troops of his command.’

Any calm review of Cedar Creek, of the attack from a force of Confederate infantry upon a strongly fortified position held by near twice their number, supported by a cavalry more than double our cavalry, will rather condemn General Early for not having halted his advance sooner, than for failure in effort to make it continuous.

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