riding from Carlisle
, a distance of 36 miles, as Col. Mosby
points out, between 8 A. M., and 5 P. M.? I myself rode for General Geo. H. Stewart
50 miles by daylight on June 23rd, in Pennsylvania
But on the supposition that Ewell
received that famous letter and order on the morning of the 28th, how can we account for the fact that Early
did not receive Ewell
's order till the evening of the 29th?
I submit that these facts make it beyond contradiction that there is an error in the date of the letter as it was copied from memory.
The supposition that General Lee
sent that letter to Ewell
on the night of June 27th bristles with improbabilities.
There is the improbability that Lee
would have waited till the 30th to order Hill
to march to Cashtown
There is the improbability that an order of such importance would not be dispatched with due military expedition.
Its omission from Lee
's letter-book is suggestive of haste.
It was written at night, and would seem to have been dispatched at once without taking time to copy it in the letter-book.
This increases the improbability that it would not be sent post haste to Ewell
Then there is the improbability that Ewell
, having received so supremely important an order should have put off its execution for 24 hours—from the morning of the 28th to the morning of the 29th.
Again, there is the improbability that he should have waited 24 hours before he sent his staff officer to transmit General Lee
's order to General Early
Then finally there is the improbability that General Longstreet
and Colonel Taylor
and Colonel Marshall
and General Long
and General Lee
himself, should all have believed and stated that the news of the proximity of Hooker
should have been brought by a scout on the 28th, if the fact was really known on the 27th.
's whole argument on this point hinges on the accuracy of the date of the letter or rather ‘sketch of a letter’ written down from memory.
It appears to me immensely more likely that Colonel Venable
made a mistake of date in writing that sketch of Lee
's letter, than that all the improbabilities I have enumerated should have occurred.
says: ‘Nobody can reconcile this letter with Lee
Neither can anybody reconcile this letter, as