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[98] mouth of the Conewago. Had Stuart been twenty-four hours earlier and met Early at York, the whole situation would have been changed, and Meade's dispositions made, upon hearing that the pressure against Harrisburg was relieved, would have been altogether different.

When Ewell was in occupation of Boonsboro and Hagerstown, for some days prior to the 22d, he could easily have turned east and occupied Frederick. It has been asked by military critics why General Lee did not make such a move, as Hill was nearby at Shepherdstown, and Longstreet less than a day's march away, and it is claimed that by concentrating at Frederick, he would be well on the way towards Washington and Baltimore, and could have beaten Hooker in detail, as he crossed the river and approached to give battle.

The answer is, that Hooker never would have delivered battle at Frederick; he would have retired precipitately to the neighborhood of Washington, and as one of General Lee's objects was the securing of supplies, such a move would have diverted him from that purpose. On the 25th, he wrote to Mr. Davis, from Williamsport, ‘I have not sufficient troops to maintain my communications, and have to abandom them. I trust I can throw General Hooker's army across the Potomac, and draw troops from the South, embarrassing their plan of campaign in a measure, if I do nothing else and have to return.’

Besides the larger field for collecting supplies, nothing would be so effective in drawing the Federal forces from the South, in General Lee's estimation, as an extended excursion into Pennsylvania, and threatening the capital of that State.

To return to the Army of the Potomac: Hooker and Halleck were not agreed as to the policy to be pursued. Halleck wished him to march to the relief of Harper's Ferry. Hooker considered the occupation of that place as of no military consequence, and he wished to remove the stores and abandon it, making use of the garrison elsewhere. That Lee should pass it by with a garrison there and on the surrounding heights, of thirteen thousand men, would indicate that he agreed with Hooker.

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