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[75] artillery still resound through the valleys and linger upon the opposing heights. While the battle is not accounted as sanguinary as Sharpsburg, and not as picturesque in its setting as Fredericksburg, and while there was no brilliant coup de main like that of Jackson's at Chancellorsville, yet, as marking the turning point in the fortunes of the war, and repelling the tide of Southern invasion, it is by common consent regarded as the most momentous of all the struggles waged between the army of the Potomac and the army of Northern Virginia.

To the military student of the campaign, the tactical movements on either side, the manner in which the troops were brought into action, the nature of the ground, the strength of the several positions, and how each of them bore on the final result, furnish on a large scale rich material for the study of the art of war. Notwithstanding the volumes which have been devoted to the subject, no writer has yet appeared, able to paint the picture in all its fullness, tracing with bold sweep the general outlines, and deftly filling in its multitudinous details.

Historical truth evolves itself slowly. In the diary of the Hon. Gideon Wells, Secretary of the Navy, now being published, he records that Mr. Lincoln was extremely dejected at Lee's escape after the battle, and much displeased that Meade did not press Lee vigorously. The average Northerner, however, while he failed, as did Mr. Lincoln, to realize how close the Union army had been to defeat, was quite willing when success was assured to forget the panic which swept the country ahead of Lee's invading army when it made its swift march to the Susquehanna, and was too elated over the result to care to go much into the inquiry how it all came about. This feeling to some extent, affected the subsequent investigation before a Committee of Congress upon the conduct of the war. Everyone could afford to be generous when there was so much cause for mutual congratulation.

In the South it was different; the increasing exigencies of the Confederate government and its narrowing resources, left it no time during the remainder of its existence, to institute inquiries into the cause of Lee's failure, and at the conclusion of hostilities, the people were too much engaged in their efforts to repair the waste of war, to think of the past and its mistakes.


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