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1 It has, indeed, been asserted that Lee designed, under cover of this attack, to evacuate his lines; but not a shadow of authority for the statement has been shown. There is no mention of such a purpose in any document that has been preserved; no evidence in any quarter of any preparation to take advantage of the assault in order to withdraw.It is a common manoeuvre for some rebel advocate or apologist to assert that such and such was the intention or result of a certain operation, without giving the slightest proof of the correctness of the statement; and then for all the rest to quote him as authority. If, being a bitter enemy of the national cause or its most successful champions, he represents himself as a Northern writer, he is forthwith claimed by rebels and sympathizing foreigners as an unwilling witness to the truth telling against his own side, whereas his testimony has been carefully manufactured with hostile design. No statement of national or rebel intentions, or strength, or losses, or of any material fact on either side, should be accepted without positive proof of its correctness; and it is not sufficient to mention an authority; the absolute quotation should be verified.
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