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[76] Still, with the army of Northern Virginia and among its officers and men, from the day their faces were turned again to the Potomac, the causes of the failure have been a theme of repeated, and sometimes angry, discussion.

When the magnanimity of General Lee prompted him, at the end of the third day, to assume the responsibility for the disaster, it allayed for the time any disposition to fix the responsibility elsewhere, and so long as he lived, his influence was felt in restraining heated discussions, which he discouraged as productive of no good, and the effect of which would be to alienate from each other those who had been comrades in arms.

The subject, however, was of such a nature, its discussion could not be finally suppressed. The Gettysburg failure touched too keenly the pride of the army and the reputation of General Lee, to permit silence on the part of his followers when it was believed by many that the responsibility rested upon other shoulders than his own. As time passed the discussion widened, and it became more and more apparent that General Lee's broad and generous mantle had covered the shortcomings of more than one of his lieutenants. One of the contemporary criticisms was directed against General Stuart, the cavalry leader, who was charged with having not only committed a fatal blunder, but with violating his instructions in detaching himself from the army when the Potomac was crossed, and failing to furnish the Commander-in-Chief with the information which it was essential for him to possess. Stuart's brilliant service afterwards, and his death in battle disarmed any disposition to emphasize whatever error he may have committed; but it remained for some of the general staff afterwards to point out and lay stress upon this feature of the campaign. This view was endorsed by General Longstreet, to whom Stuart was reporting immediately before the passage of the Potomac. Colonel John S. Mosby in his book recently published, entitled, ‘Stuart's Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign,’ and in his letters to the press, has undertaken to refute these charges, and to show that Stuart not only acted within his instructions, but that his detour between Hooker's army and the city of Washington, was justified by the result, and that had he been with Lee on the march he could have rendered no special

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J. E. B. Stuart (5)
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