rehearsed the orders given General Stuart
, and added that it was expected that officer would ‘give notice of the movements’ of the Federal
army, but as ‘nothing had been heard from him,’ it was inferred that the enemy had not yet left Virginia
The report leaves it an open question whether Stuart
was, or was not, to blame for his absence and for the lack of information.
General Fitz Lee
in his life of General Lee
, with these reports before him, states that General Lee
and General Longstreet
were responsible for Stuart
's absence, a statement with which I cannot agree.
The untoward conclusion of the Pennsylvania
Campaign-in a drawn battle which compelled him to retreat, instead of in the decisive victory he had a right to expect—must have been a crushing blow to the spirit of General Lee
; and it must forever remain a splendid illustration of the magnanimity of that great soldier that he made no attempt to shield his military reputation behind the shortcomings of his Lieutenants
To state the consequence of the absence of General Stuart
was a part of the story—the res gestac—of
the campaign, and could not have been omitted in any intelligent account of the same.
But to refrain, as he did, from stating that the absence of that officer and his command was due to a failure to strictly observe the orders he had received — was a generous and magnanimous act which has few parallels in military history.
It is to be deeply regretted that any officer who ever drew sword in Lee
's army should seek to tarnish the splendor of such noble self restraint.
On the whole I fear the careful critic will be constrained to pass on Col Mosby
's book the criticism that writer has passed on Col. Marshall
's work in Lee
's report: ‘It is a fine example of special pleading, and the composition shows that the author possessed far more of the qualities of an advocate than of a judge.’