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‘ [78] be assailed, it will take its own time to prepare and strengthen itself to renew its advance upon Richmond, and force this army back within the intrenchments of that city.’ At the date of this letter General Longstreet, with two divisions of his corps, was absent from the army, having been detached after the battle of Fredericksburg and sent to the south side of the James to cooperate in the capture of Suffolk. Mr. Davis says that in anticipation of General Hooker's advance in May, instructions were sent to General Longstreet to hasten his return to the army with his two divisions, and notwithstanding the instructions I were ‘repeated with urgent insistence, has movements were so delayed that though the battle of Chancellorsville did not occur until many days after he was expected to join, his force was absent when it occurred.’

Some explanation of this apparent reluctance on Longstreet's part may possibly be gathered from his account of an interview between himself and Mr. Seddon on his way back to the army, published by the General in his own defence in 1878 in the Philadelphia Times, and republished in the Southern Historical Society Papers, vol. 5, page 35. At that interview, when the situation of the Western armies was being discussed, General Longstreet says he unfolded a plan of his own, which was to concentrate the Western forces under Joe Johnston, against Rosencranz at Tullahoma, and add his two divisions, which would enable Johnston to crush Rosencrans; after which they could turn their faces North, and with this ‘splendid army march through Tennessee and Kentucky and threaten the invasion of Ohio.’ In the march through those States, he thought the army would meet no organized obstruction, and supplies would be plentiful. Mr. Seddon, he says, did not accede to his views, not, he thought from any want of confidence in them, but from the difficulty of weakening Lee.

The General adds that he was so thoroughly impressed with the practicability of his plan, that when he reached General Lee he laid it before him with a certain confidence ‘justified by their close personal and official relations.’ He failed to convince General Lee, mainly, he says, because if adopted it would force Lee to divide his army: He says General Lee then asked him

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