This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 Other efforts, with the same intent, marked his conduct during all that day. His tactics were almost always offensive, and by his marvellous strategy and skill, by his consummate daring and absolute confidence in himself and his men, he made up for his deficiency in numbers. When circumstances obliged him to act upon the defensive, always at such times he kept in view the counter-stroke. He did not wish to fight at Fredericksburg. His objection was, that there was no room for this return blow in the daytime, with the enemy's guns on Stafford Heights. I cannot refrain from speaking of the statement, recently made, that General Jackson advised General Lee on the night of the 17th September to cross the Potomac back into Virginia. I think it is a mistake. He told me at one o'clock that McClellan had done his worst. He was looking all the afternoon for a chance to strike the enemy, but he never had sufficient force to do it. He agreed with General Lee entirely during the whole of this campaign and especially during this battle. General Lee writes, in a letter which I have recently read, ‘When he (Jackson) came upon the field-having preceded his troops, and learned my reasons for offering battle, he emphatically agreed with me. When I determined to withdraw and cross the Potomac he also agreed and said, in view of all the circumstances, it was better to have fought the battle in Maryland than to have left it without a struggle.’ I say it with all possible deference to a distinguished soldier, and most respected gentleman, but there is every indication that General Stephen D. Lee's recollection as to Jackson's having proposed to cross the river on the night of the 17th, is at fault. He says, at the interview he reports, that Longstreet came first and made his report. Longstreet says in his book that he was the last to come. General Lee's letter, above referred to, shows the entire concurrence between himself and General Jackson with respect to their movements both before and after the battle. That General Jackson should have advised Lee, without being asked, to cross the river the night of the 17th, is entirely at variance with his character. It was a liberty he certainly never would have permitted one of his subordinates to take with him. As for his care for the lives of his men, the great military critics, whose opinions I have quoted, told me that in this especially appeared the superiority of the Valley Campaign to the Italian Campaign of Napoleon. While the strategetical combinations were
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.