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General Lee at Gettysburg.

A paper read before the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, on the Fourth of April, 1905.

By James Power Smith, Captain and A. D. C. to General Ewell.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts.

Last year I had the pleasure to read before this Society a paper on Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville. As you have done me the honor to ask me to return to Boston and to this platform, I have thought to read to you a companion paper on General Lee at Gettysburg. I am aware that this is an ambitious theme, because of the very critical hour in American history which it brings before us, and because so much has been written apparently from every possible standpoint. Yet it has seemed to me that I might make my own contribution to the literature on the subject, or, at least, afford you an evening's entertainment.

You will not be surprised that the story I am to tell is from the Confederate side, and may be the more interesting that it is less familiar.

After Chancellorsville, the army of the Potomac, under General Hooker, was again gathering itself together. It showed no desire to renew the attack, and on the Stafford heights it could not be assaulted. In his tent on the Old Mine Road, near Hamilton's crossing, General Lee promptly addressed himself to his maps and the planning of a forward movement. The financial condition of the Confederacy and the scarcity of supplies made time very precious. The Commissary General at Richmond said: ‘If General Lee wants rations, let him seek them in Pennsylvania.’ Such an aggressive movement would compel the Federal army to retire from the unassailable north bank of the Rappahannock, would remove the campaign from Northern Virginia, and give the country opportunity for recuperation. For a time, at least, the Confederate forces would find supply in the abundance of the rich fields and barns of Pennsylvania. If a successful battle could be fought on Northern soil, it might result in some change of sentiment in the [136] North, and a cry of peace; and it might bring recognition by foreign powers, and a close of the war. All things pointed to the invasion, conditions compelled it; and General Lee, knowing the odds which were against him and the perils of the movement, had the audacity to undertake it.

The reorganization of the Army of Northern Virginia brought General Longstreet with two divisions, Hoods's and Pickett's, from the Southside of Virginia. With Longstreet in command of the First Corps, General Ewell returning from long sick leave was put in command of the Second Corps succeeding General Jackson; and General A. P. Hill in command of the Third, newly organized. All were men of high class, graduates of the Military Academy at West Point, soldiers of experience and officers of renown. Organization and preparation were speedily made. Thirty days after Chancellorsville, May 31, 1863 the Army of Northern Virginia was again an organized force of 54,356 infantry, 9,563 cavalry and 4,460 artillery, a total of 68,352 officers and men, with over two hundred field guns. It was a compact, mobile army, well officered, somewhat equipped with arms and stores imported and captured, and in spendid morale. On that day, May 31, General Lee writes, ‘I pray that our merciful Father in Heaven may protect and direct us. In that case I fear no odds and no numbers.’

The movement begun.

On June 2nd, Ewell's corps began the advance and moved by Germanna to Culpeper Courthouse, and two days later Longstreet's corps followed, General Lee with it, while General A. P. Hill was left on the lines at Fredericksburg to watch Hooker and to follow. With less than 20,000 troops, Hill was now between Hooker and Richmond, sixty miles away. The Washington authorities would not consent to Hookers adavance. ‘Lee's army, not Richmond, is your true objective point,’ Mr Lincoln said. In one of his picturesque dispatches to Hooker, he said: ‘I would not take any risk of being entangled upon the river like an ox jumped half over the fence and liable to be torn by dogs front and rear without a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other.’

On June 9th, the Federal cavalry, making a reconnoisance in force, attacked Stuart and his cavalry in Culpeper and fought the memorable cavalry engagement of Brandy Station. On the loth, General Ewell passed through the Blue Ridge and crossed the [137] Shenandoah at Front Royal, sending Imboden's cavalry off to the west of Romney. On the 13th, General Ewell attacked the Federal force at Winchester under Milroy, capturing 4,000 men and 28 guns with a large amount of ordnance and other stores; on the same day General Hooker ordered a concentration of his army at Manassas, an old field, already having its ‘twice-told told tale,’ with his own headquarters at Dumfries, on the Potomac. Mr. Lincoln humorously wired Hooker: ‘If the head of Lee's army is at Martinsburg, and the tail of it on the plank road between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the animal must be very slim somewhere. Could you not break him?’

As Lee went north, Hooker moved on a parallel line between Lee and Washington. Ewell had gone west of the Blue Ridge, by Winchester, Martinsburg and Williamsport, in Maryland; Longstreet moved on the east side of the ridge with Stuart on his front and left flank; and Hill passed behind Longstreet into the Valley, and northward following Ewell, and then was followed by Longstreet's corps. General Lee instructed General Stuart to keep on General Longstreet's right, or at his discretion to move on the rear of Hooker to and across the Potomac, and as soon as possible come in touch with the right of Ewell's advance. Stuart passed the rear of Hooker's army and crossed the Potomac at Seneca, about thirteen miles west of Washington. General Ewell with rapid movement passed through Chambersburg, and on June 27th reached Carlisle; threatening Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. General Lee had written, ‘If Harrisburg comes in your way, capture it;’ while General Early with his division from Ewell's corps turned east and went by Gettysburg, to cut the railroad from Baltimore to Harrisburg and seize the important bridge over the Susquehannah at Wrightsville. Certainly there was vigor in the movement, and audacity. The invasion spread itself over an extended territory, with Jenkins and a cavalry brigade going west to McConnellsburg, at its own pleasure, and Early on the Susquehannah to the east with Ewell scouting before Harrisburg. It was Lee's purpose to collect horses, beef cattle and supplies; while the Army of the Potomac was drawn away from Washington. The day Ewell reached Carlisle, Longstreet and Hill reached Chambersburg, with army headquarters in the outskirts of the town. General Stuart was performing with his usual dash and gaiety, not on the west and north of Hooker, but using the discretion given him, on the east, between [138] Hooker and Washington. He captured wagon trains, the nearest being but four miles from the capitol at Washington, burning many, and carrying two hundred away, greatly retarding the progress. He burned bridges, and cut wires and received and sent conflicting messages to his great delight. He fought Kilpatrick at Hanover, he delayed two corps in their advance, and after his three brigades drew two cavalry divisions, and reached Dover in Pennsylvania, July 1st, with horses and men in an exhausted condition, but with the utmost satisfaction.

At Chambersburg, General Lee issued an address, to his army in which commending their spirit and fortitude, and forbidding injury to private property, and reminding them that civilization and Christianity forbade retaliation against their foes; he said: ‘It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered, without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorance has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain.’

At Chambersburg, on the 28th, General Lee learned from a cavalry scout that Hooker had crossed the Potomac, and moving northwest was approaching the South Mountains in Pennsylvania. As Hooker was without his cavalry at Chancellorsville, so General Lee in Pennsylvania was greatly embarrassed by the absence of his main cavalry force. Stuart was not there, as Lee had designed, to cover his own movements, and keep him informed of the movements of all parts of Hooker's forces,

A personal incident.

A personal incident finds its place at this point. After the death of Jackson and his burial at Lexington, Va., by the wish of the staff, I was the escort of Mrs. Jackson and her babe of seven months, to her father's home in lower North Carolina. Returning to Richmond, I learned of Lee's advance into Pennsylvania, and received appointment to the staff of General Ewell, Jackson's successor in command of the Second Corps. By rail I went to Staunton, and there I found my mount and rode to Winchester. Crossing the Potomac at Williamsport, I was among the last of the invaders to reach Pennsylvania soil. It was not so much the courage of a soldier as the thoughtlessness of youth which led me to ride on alone, [139] in the uniform of a Confederate captain, with side arms rather ornamental than useful. About sunset I reached the town of Greencastle, in Pennsylvania, and rode slowly through the long street. About the corners were groups of farmers, with their horses at the store racks. I had gone half through the town before the thought came that these men, well mounted, could so easily capture my small force. But riding slowly through the middle of the way, I had the presumption to bow to the young farmers and to lift my cap to the astonished ladies, until I had reached the northern end, when I put spurs to my steed, and for a mile or two let the space grow rapidly behind me. Through the night, I rode alone to Chambersburg, entering the Confederate lines with some difficulty and a large assumption of authority, before the day broke on the morning of the 29th of June. From the town, turning east, about a mile away I found the camp of army headquarters, and as I rode into a grove, General Lee was pulling on his gauntlets, and preparing to mount Traveller, brought to him by an orderly. Beckoning me to him, the General received me in his grave and kindly way. He asked me where I came from, expressing his great loss by the death of General Jackson, and spoke with affectionate sympathy of Mrs. Jackson. Quite properly he asked whether I had any knowledge of General Stuart. I told him that I had forded the Potomac the evening before with two cavalryman, whom I left at Williamsport, who said they had left General Stuart the day before in Prince William county, Va., with dispatches for cavalry detachments, and orders to join the cavalry train in Pennsylvania. The General was evidently surprised and disturbed. He asked me to repeat my statement. When I turned away and joined the staff, Colonel Walter Taylor, his Adjutant-General, asked me aside the same question about General Stuart's whereabouts, and I told him what I had said to General Lee. I asked Colonel Taylor why General Lee was concerned about General Stuart, and whether they were not informed about his movements, and he replied that General Lee expected General Stuart to report before that time in Pennsylvania, and that he was much disturbed by his absence, having no means of information about the movements of the enemy's forces.

Eastward from Chambersburg.

General Lee was now moving eastward for the concentration of his army at Cashtown. Ewell that morning left Carlisle, and Hill left Chambersburg, Longstreet following the next day, leaving Pickett's [140] division at Chambersburg as the rear guard. Cashtown is a village on the eastern side of the low mountain range, which runs north and south. Eight miles east is the town of Gettysburg, a topographical centre, with roads from west and northwest meeting roads from the south and east.


It was a small town of about three thousand people, in middle Pennsylvania, but ten or twelve miles north of the Maryland line. It was in the middle of a fertile and picturesque country. To the west, sloping over the rising ridges of well cultivated farms, and to the, east, a broken land of rocky ridges and small cove-shaped mountains of rudely broken stone. On the western slopes are the College and the Theological Seminary, which give character somewhat to the town. Quiet and retired, no one in Gettysburg dreamed of any coming battle, nor of the pathetic and undying fame that would come to the peaceful place. Neither General Lee nor General Meade ever thought of making it a battlefield, nor that its village cemetery would be the centre of a greater city of the dead, and the burying place of the hopes of a new Confedercy of the States of the South.

General Lee on the field.

On July 1st, General Lee and staff rode east from Cashtown and about three miles from Gettysburg, coming into the open country, he came in sight of the first day's battle. Turning into a grass field on his left he sat on his well-bred iron gray, Traveller, and looked across the fields eastward, through the smoke rising in puffs and long rolls. He held his glasses in his hand and looked down the long slope by the Seminary, over the town to the rugged heights beyond. A rod or two away, I sat in my saddle and caught the picture which has not faded from memory, and grows more distinct as the years go by. He was fifty-six years old, with a superb physique, five feet and eleven and one-half inches in height, about one hundred and seventy-five pounds in weight, and in perfect health. His son, Captain Lee, writes, ‘I never remember his being ill.’ He was a gentleman by blood and breeding, so truly that he was unmindful of it. He was plain and neat in his uniform of gray, so careful of his dress that there was nothing to attract attention. He wore a hat of grey felt, with medium brim and his boots fitted neatly, coming to his knee with a border [141] of fair leather an inch wide. He was himself a soldier and lived as a soldier in a tent, and on the plainest fare. He neither knew tobacco nor cared for wine. He had the quiet bearing of a powerful yet harmonious nature. An unruffled calm upon his countenance betokened the concentration and control of the whole being within. He was a kingly man whom all men who came into his presence expected to obey. His son, recalling all his life with his father, says: ‘I always knew it was impossible to disobey my father.’ With his natural dignity and reserve he was by no means inaccessible. He had a fine knowledge of men and conversed with his generals and younger men that he might know them better. He had a shrewd perception of the enemy's purpose. He had the general's courage to do great and perilous things. He was strong in the formation of his lines, and imperious in pressing them to battle to the utmost of victory. He was amiable and considerate of his generals; with an unwillingness to wound their feelings that did honor to his gentleness, if it did not weaken his power over them. To one of his sons, he once wrote, in one of those model letters of a father: ‘Duty is the sublimest word in the language. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.’

The Corps commanders.

About General Lee were three corps commanders. Lieutenant-General James Longstreet, forty-three years of age, was born in South Carolina, long a resident of Alabama, and after the war resided in Georgia. He graduated at West Point in 1842. He was an officer of infantry in the United States army, and commanded the companies which stormed the gates of Monterey, with Lieutenant George Meade, against whom he fought at Gettysburg, as an engineer officer. He was calm, self-possessed, unobtrusive, though determined, and a hard fighter of troops when he got them into position. At Gettysburg he was unwilling and recalcitrant to say the least, and many think he was seriously disobedient to the wishes of his commander. But there, as before and after, he fought with a vigor and determination that made him always a lion in the way.

Lieutenant-General Richard Stoddard Ewell, forty-six years old at Gettysburg, was a native of Prince William county, Va. He graduated at West Point in 1845. He became a captain of cavalry and served his country in the West with gallantry and distinction. As Fitz Lee says: ‘He was a brave officer and a [142] most lovable old man.’ Commanding a brigade of infantry at the First Manassas, he became a trusted division commander under Jackson. At the second battle of Manassas he lost a leg, and lay invalided for some time in Richmond, until after Chancellorsville he was made a Lieutenant-General and returned to the field to command the Second Corps. He was much disabled by the loss of his leg, was dyspeptic, and to his staff both affectionate and irritable. With loyalty unquestioned, and supreme confidence in his commander, at Gettysburg he lacked initiative, and at a critical moment waited for orders.

Lieutenant-General Ambrose P. Hill, commanding the Third Corps, was thirty-nine years of age. He was a native of Culpeper, Va., and graduated in 1847, with Burnside. He was small and neat in form, and soldierly in bearing, a fine division commander. Under forty, he still had enough of initiative to act for himself at Gettysburg, and to bring on the first day's action, contrary to General Lee's wishes, and with serious consequences.

Lieutenant-General J. E. B. Stuart was but thirty years of age at Gettysburg. He was a native of Patrick county, Va., and graduated at West Point in 1854. He was an officer of the First Cavalry, with General Sumner as Colonel, and Joseph E. Johnston as Lieutenant-Colonel. He was an aid of Colonel R. E. Lee at Harper's Ferry in the John Brown rebellion. A superb horseman, he was an officer of energy, vigilance and personal courage, and irrepressible gaiety of spirits, with entire freedom from every form of dissipation. As a superior officer, the only criticism ever made was that he preferred a hundred times to lead a charge himself, rather than send another to do it.

The first day.

On June 30th, General A. P. Hill being at Cashtown, Pettigrew's Brigade, of Heth's Division, was permitted to go forward to levy from the stores of Gettysburg shoes for some of his barefooted men, but he found Buford's cavalry about the town, and retired without the shoes. On that day, the 30th, General Lee was with Longstreet's camp, at Greenwood, just west of the mountain at Cashtown. Ewell with two divisions was a short distance north, coming east from Carlisle, and Early was retiring from York toward Cashtown; Stuart, of whose whereabouts General Lee knew nothing was fighting Kilpatrick at Hanover. [143]

Early on June 1st, while General Lee rode with Longstreet to Cashtown, General A. P. Hill sent two divisions, Heth and Pender, down towards Gettysburg, as he says, ‘to discover what was in my front,’ or as Heth says ‘toget those shoes,’ a premature movement contrary to the spirit at least of Lee's instructions. It made the great battle, not one of defense on the eastward slopes at Cashtown, but of offence at Gettysburg. Heth's advancing skirmish line found Buford's cavalry pickets at Willoughby's run, on the west side of McPherson's ridge, and forced them back with a vigor which was, to say the least, unfortunate for the Confederates. The sound of battle went west to call Ewell forward along the road from Carlisle and brought General Lee to the front from Cashtown.

General R. H. Anderson, with a division of Hill's corps, says, that, at Cashtown, General Lee, listening to the guns toward Gettysburg, said, ‘I cannot think what has become of Stuart. I ought to have heard from him long before now. He may have met with disaster, but I hope not. In the absence of reports from him, I am in ignorance as to what we have in front of us here. It may be the whole Federal Army, or it may be only a detachment. If it is the whole Federal army we must fight a battle here; if we do not gain a victory these defiles and gorges through which we are passing this morning will shelter us from disaster.’

Contrary to Lee's warning, Hill was giving battle against the advanced corps of the Army of the Potomac. At 10 A. M., Reynolds found the First Corps of the Federal army on Seminary ridge, a mile west of Gettysburg. Advancing with a division to the support of Buford, Reynolds drove Archer's brigade back over Willoughby's run, capturing General Archer, and falling himself slain on the field. At noon, Hill's divisions, Heth and Pender, held the first corps at bay, and the Eleventh Corps arrived under General Howard, who took command of the Federal lines. Leaving one division with batteries on the Cemetery hill, Howard led two divisions to the fronton Seminary ridge. At 2:30 P. M., Ewell came down the Heidlersburg road, and Rodes' fine division swept down against Howard's right flank.

At 3:30 Early came into the battle from the York road, attacking the right and rear of Howard's line. At 4 P. M. Ewell's divisions drove the Eleventh Corps through the town, and Hill advancing, drove the First Corps, completely routed. At 4:30 P. M., Howard's [144] whole command was broken, and retired to find refuge with the reserve division on Cemetery Hill. They left 5,000 prisoners behind, with three guns, and a field with many dead and wounded. Nearly fifty thousand were engaged, almost equally divided on the twosides, though the Confederates when all got into battle, were somewhat stronger.

At first there was no thought of delay; General Lee sent Colonel Walter Taylor to order Ewell, ‘Press those people and secure the hill if possible.’ Early's and Rodes' men went out of the town and on the slopes of Cemetery Hill, undaunted and in high spirits. But just then, General William Smith, one of Early's brigadiers, guarding the left flank on the York road, sent word that a Federal force was moving on his front, and Early sent General Gordon and his brigade to support General Smith. But it was a false alarm, and a serious loss of time. Edward Johnson's division of Ewell's corps was not up. Anderson's division of A. P. Hill's corps was yet in the rear, caught in a tangle of wagon trains. The four Confederate divisions on the field had fought a battle against a force of unknown numbers, and had left many officers and men on the field.

About 5 P. M., I rode with General Ewell and staff into the town square of Gettysburg. The square was filled with Confederate soldiers, and with them were mingled many prisoners, while scarcely a citizen was to be seen. As our corps commander sat in his saddle under the shade of a tree, a young officer brought from a cellar a bottle of wine, which the General pleasantly declined, while he chatted amiably with his men, and the Federal prisoners gathered about him. It was a moment of most critical importance, more evidently critical to us now, than it would seem to any one then. But even then, some of us who had served on Jackson's staff, sat in a group in our saddles, and one said sadly, ‘Jackson is not here.’ Our corps commander, General Ewell, as true a Confederate soldier as ever went into battle, was simply waiting for orders, when every moment of the time could not be balanced with gold. General Early and General Rodes came with great earnestness and animation to tell of the advanced position. They desired General Lee to be informed that they could go forward and take Cemetery hill if they were supported on their right; that to the south of the Cemetery there was in sight a position commanding it which should be taken at once; and I was sent by General Ewell to deliver the message to the commanding general. I found General Lee quite well to the [145] right, in an open field, with General Longstreet, dismounted, and with glasses inspecting the position to the south of Cemetery hill. When I delivered my message, General Lee gave me his glasses and said that the elevated position in front was he supposed the commanding position of which Early and Rodes spoke, that some of ‘those people’ were there (a few mounted men, apparently reconnoitering), that he had no force on the field with which to take that position; and turning to Longstreet asked where his troops were, and expressed the wish that they might be brought immediately to the front. General Longstreet replied that his front division, McLaws, was about six miles away, and then was indefinite and noncommittal. General Lee directed me to say to General Ewell that ‘he regretted that his people were not up to support him on the right, but he wished him to take the Cemetery hill if it were possible; and that he would ride over and see him very soon.’ Whatever the opportunity was, it was lost. Early and Rodes were ready for the assault; A. P. Hill felt the losses in his command and waited for third division, Anderson's, and General Ewell, waiting for his third division, Johnson's, and diverted by the false alarm on his left, lacked initiative and looked for instructions from his commander.

General Hancock, of date, January 17th, 1878, writes: ‘In my opinion, if the Confederates had continued the pursuit of General Howard on the afternoon of the first day of July, at Gettysburg, they would have driven him over and beyond Cemetery Hill. After I had arrived upon the field, assumed the command, and made my disposition for defending that point, I do not think the Confederate force then present could have carried it.’

Colonel John B. Bachelder, the historian of Gettysburg, said ‘there is no question but what a combined attack on Cemetery hill made within an hour, would have been successful. At the end of an hour the troops had been rallied, occupied strong positions, were covered by stone walls, and under the command and magnetic influence of General Hancock, who in the meantime had reached the field, they would, in my opinion, have held the position against any attack from the troops then up.’ Col. Batchelder states in support of his opinion that there was but one brigade that had not been engaged, Smith's, of Steinwher's division, with not a battery in reserve on Cemetery hill. “The best chance for a successful attack was within the first hour and unquestionably the [146] great mistake of the battle was the failure to follow the Union forces through the town, and attack them before they could reform on Cemetery hill. It was no fault of Early and Rodes and their divisions, that the Cemetery hill was not taken. Instead of sending Gordon's brigade away, Smith's brigade could have been ordered from the flank; and Ewell without waiting for the support desired upon his right from A. P. Hill, could have easily taken the hill and held it that night. It would have saved the day, and thrown the inevitable battle back on another line, probably Pipe Clay Creek, with a field more hopeful for General Lee.

As the sun went down, Edward Johnson arrived on the northwest of the field. General Lee came over and conferred with Generals Ewell, Early and Rodes, outside of the town, on the Carlisle road. All had abandoned attack for that evening. Federal troops had arrived with Hancock in command, and Slocum was placed in line across Culp's hill and the Cemetery hill. General Lee spoke of an advance by General Ewell by daylight next morning. Early and Rodes again suggested advance from the ground to their right, the more gradual slope affording opportunity for success against the Cemetery hill. General Lee asked as to the possible movemeat of the corps to his right, that the line might not be so long. But Ewell thought he could take Culp's hill on his left, and threaten the enemy's right. ‘Well,’ said General Lee, ‘if I attack from my right, Longstreet will have to make the attack.’ Then with bowed head he added, ‘Longstreet is a very good fighter when he gets in position, but he is so slow.’ It was concluded that the advance should be made from the right. General Lee rode away and joined General Longstreet near the Seminary, and Longstreet urged that he should move to his right and place his force between Meade and Washington. The interview ended with a distinct statement made by General Lee in the hearing of his staff, that he expected General Longstreet to attack from the right ‘as early as practicable.’

Whatever was to be the result, the battle was now joined. There was no retreat without an engagement. Instead of the defensive, as he had planned, General Lee was compelled to take the offensive, and himself endeavor to force the enemy away. It was not by the choice of Lee nor by the foresight of Meade that the Federal army found itself placed on lines of magnificent defence. Just east of the little town, across a narrow valley, there lay on the ground a great ‘fish-hook,’ as Swinton first and aptly called it, a fish-hook [147] of rocky ridge and rugged hills. The lower convex curve of the hook was the Cemetery hill opposite the town. To the northeast the ridge curved back to the barb of the hook, the rocky sides of Culp's hill, and to the south and east the long shank lay across the country for several miles to find its head in the double Round Top. Two main roads from the east came within the hook on their way to Gettysburg, the Baltimore and the Tarrytown roads, and along them Meade's rapidly arriving corps found ways prepared. They occupied at once the concave curved lines; and were near, each to the other, for support in any time of need. Meade on the defense had both the natural position and the inner lines, while Lee on the offensive had the open field and steep and rugged slopes, and the longer outside lines. Lee was compelled to make a larger fishhook, and extend a thin line from the left, before Culp's hill, by the town and away off to the head of the hook at Round Top.

The Second day.

There can be no question that General Lee intended to attack very early in the morning of the second day, July 2nd. He said so to Ewell and his generals the night before on the Carlisle road. He said so to Longstreet a little while later, near the Cemetery Hill. General Pendleton, his Chief of Artillery, an Episcopal clergyman, says that General Lee told him that night that he ‘had ordered General Longstreet to attack on the flank at sunrise next morning.’ General Long, of General Lee's staff, writes that in his opinion ‘orders were issued for the movement to begin on the enemy's left as early as practicable.’

Longstreet's leading brigade, Kershaw's, was in bivouac only two miles from Gettysburg. McLaws, about six miles back, was ordered to move at 4 A. M., and, singularly, this order was changed during the night to read ‘early in the morning.’ General Lee was himself in the saddle before the day dawned. He looked eagerly for the arrival of Anderson of Hill's corps, and for McLaws and Hood, of Longstreet's corps. But it was seven o'clock before Anderson began to move; it was nine o'clock before Hill's divisions were formed along Seminary Ridge, and ‘Longstreet's men consumed more than three hours of sunlight in making a journey of from two to four miles.’ (Dr. H. A. White, p. 201.)

It was Lee's purpose to turn the enemy's left flank with Longstreet's command, while the other corps were to make demonstrations [148] to their front, to prevent the removal of troops to the front of Longstreet, and make real and vigorous advance if Longstreet was at all successful. But, as Fitzhugh Lee says (p. 277), ‘His chariot of war had hardly started before he found his corps team were not pulling together; the wheel horse selected to start it was balky and stubborn, and after stretching his traces, did not draw his share of the load with rapidity enough to be effective.’ At sunrise, General Lee sent a messenger to General Ewell, on the left, to ask whether he could not attack from his flank; but Ewell at daylight found Culp's hill already occupied, and axes and spades were making a fort of that barb of the fish-hook.

At sunrise that morning Meade's divisions were widely scattered. Less than ten thousand of his First and Eleventh corps were on the Cemetery hill. Right and left, were the 8,600 of Slocum's corps. Near at hand was the Third corps of 8,000. At any time before 7 o'clock Lee would have found less than 27,000 men to contest his way. But at 7 A. M., came the Second corps, and at 8 A. M., the Fifth was on the ground. At 9 A. M. came part of the Third, and at half-past 10 the artillery reserve was on the Seminary ridge.

General Lee, in the presence of General Longstreet, directed McLaws to place two divisions in position away to the right, near the peach orchard, and perpendicular to the Emmittsburg road, and to get there without the observation of the enemy. He wished him to envelop the Federal left on the Emmittsburg road and drive him in. He told General A. P. Hill that General Longstreet's line would be on his south, and nearly at right angles to his own line, and directed Hill to move into battle with Longstreet's left. After giving orders in person to Longstreet and Hill, General Lee rode into Gettysburg, to examine Ewell's position on the left. Since 2 o'clock in the morning, Early was in line at the foot of the slope, ready to scale the Cemetery hill, and eager for the order to advance. In Gettysburg, General Lee waited anxiously for the sound of Longstreet's guns. He was exceedingly impatient. ‘What can detain Longstreet,’ he said, ‘He ought to be in position now.’ It was 1 o'clock before General Longstreet set his column in motion, losing three golden hours of sunlight after he was ordered to move. Two more hours were taken in bringing the troops to the position assigned, taking a long circuitous route. It was 4 in the afternoon, when the force was in line of battle before Little Round Top. General Sickles had placed his command on [149] the Emmettsburg road, at the peach orchard, by misunderstanding of instructions, quite in advance of the natural position on the ridge and at the Round Top. And Longstreet placed McLaws directly in front of him with Hood on the right; in a line perpendicular.

General Meade had instructed General Butterfield, his chief of staff, early in the morning to prepare an order for retreat, and later there was a conference of corps commanders to consider this order, but at 4 P. M., Longstreet's attack broke up this conference. General Law, on the right of Hood, urged the occupation of Round Top, his couriers finding the Federal flank unprotected. Three times it was urged. But Longstreet's reply was ‘General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmittsburg road.’ After 4, Hood began the attack, his right going into Sickles' left about the Little Round Top and the Devil's Den. Then McLaws' division went in at the peach orchard with a terrific onslaught. Three Federal divisions came to Sickle's help, with 13,000 men, but all were forced back. A. P. Hill's line now moved forward, and soon sent the right of Sickle's corps in retreat to the Seminary ridge. And 7 o'clock in the evening found the complete defeat of Meade's left wing. Wright's Georgians went steadily up the slope, leaped the stone fences, and occupied the crest of the ridge, a short distance south of the Cemetery. But Hill's advance was in detail and was not supported. Wright could not stand alone, and with the converging forces pressing in on him, he was driven back, and the tide of Federal defeat was checked at the very summit of the ridge.

Slow and recalcitrant as he was, Longstreet's battle of the second day, was in itself a great success. Late as it was, he accomplished Lee's purpose and rolled back the Federal left towards Gettysburg, overwhelming Sickles with his tremendous attack. But if he had heeded Hood and Law, he would also have taken Round Top, and probably have occupied the Tarrytown road, in rear of Meade's army. And the opportunity of the second day was lost to the Confederates.

General Lee's left had not been idle. Edward Johnson and his division had fought bravely and persistently for Culp's hill, and entered the first line of the Federal entrenchments. Early sent two brigades gallantly against the cemetery, under withering fire, and breaking the line of the Eleventh corps, entered the Federal works on the summit. At three points that late afternoon the wave of [150] the Confederate attack crossed the stone walls and entered the defences—Wright's Georgians from the right centre, Hay's and Hoke's, under Colonel Avery, from the centre at the cemetery, bringing back some captured flags, and the Stonewall Brigade of Virginians from the left on Culp's hill. But in each case the spirited attacks were not supported, and the battle on the Confederate side was in detail and disconnected. Wright was not supported by brigades of Hill's command, that strangely, were not sent into battle. Early was not supported by Rodes', who, perhaps the finest division commander in Lee's army, was not ready, and Edward Johnson, on the left, found it impossible to move his whole command through and over the natural obstructions of Culp's hill in the face of the enemy.

The day was over, the day on which thousands on both sides gave their lives, willing sacrifices, for their convictions of right. It wrote in blood a victory for Longstreet's corps, and yet a defeat for General Lee. The extreme right, under General Law, held the Devil's Den, and at least the bases of the Round Tops. While the extreme left, under Johnson, held the crest of Culp's hill, almost in reach of the Baltimore road.

That night the Confederate forces were far from being a defeated army. They were in great spirits, and had the fervor of battle in high degree. Pickett, with three brigades, had arrived from the rear. Stuart, with his cavalry, had come up on the left, and the artillery was well up and in place. In the official report, General Lee says: ‘The result of this day's operations induced the belief that, with proper concert of action and with the increased support that the positions gained on the right, would enable the artillery to render the assaulting columns, we should ultimately succeed, and it was accordingly determined to continue the attack.’ The general plan was unchanged.

General Meade's council that night with his twelve generals was one of perplexity, and divided opinions. One of them says: ‘It was a gloomy hour.’ Twenty thousand men was the reported loss. But it was, at last, decided to remain one day and await Lee's assault. And during the night dispatches from Richmond to General Lee, which had been captured, were brought in. They relieved Meade's anxieties about Washington, and encouraged him to hold his ground.


The Third day.

At daylight it was found that the Round Tops were heavily occupied. Meade had reinforced his left with the Fifth and Sixth corps and heavy artillery. General Lee, changing his plan, directed Longstreet to form a column of attack on the Federal left centre, and assault from the south, while Ewell attacked from the north, at Culp's hill, on the opposite sides of the fish-hook curve. Pickett's division, not yet in battle, was to be the centre, with Heth's division of Hill's corps, under Pettigrew, as a second line. Two brigades (Wilcox and Perry) of Anderson's division, supported the right and two brigades (Lane and Scales), under Trimble, supported the left. Ewell's left had begun vigorously on Culp's hill, when the order to advance was given to Pickett. Near the middle of Hancock's line was a clump of trees, which General Lee suggested to Longstreet as an objective point. It was not far from the position Wright's Georgians had gained the evening before. At 10 A. M., General E. P. Alexander opened the fire of fifteen guns along the Emmettsburg road, and General R. L. Walker opened from the Seminary hill a battery of sixty-three guns. The artillery was to go forward as the column advanced and support the attacks.

Again Longstreet was reluctant. Three hours passed away in unnecessary delay. And in this time Ewell's attack on Culp's hill was a wasted opportunity. Not until 2 o'clock did the artillery duel begin. More than two hundred guns made a crash and roar that was indescribable and unearthly. The two ridges opposing were blazing volcanoes. The Confederate swept the Cemetery ridge. General Walker, of the Federal army, says: ‘The whole space behind Cemetery hill was in a moment rendered uninhabitable. Caissons exploded, destruction covered the whole ground, army headquarters were broken up. Never had a storm so dreadful burst on mortal man.’ The batteries in the Cemetery withdrew, partly to save ammunition. General Alexander, with the advanced guns, wrote a line to Pickett: ‘If you are coming at all, you must come at once.’ Pickett asked Longstreet: ‘Shall I advance?’ and he was silent. Then Pickett said: ‘Sir, I shall lead my division forward!’ And they went. Out of the woods, across the Emmettsburg road, two lines of gray, with glittering bayonets, 12,000 of them altogether, with their supports. A deep silence fell upon the field. Half-way to Hancock's salient and the clump [152] of trees, they met the cannister and the musket fire in their faces. But the Confederate batteries had nearly exhausted their ammunition, and were unable to help the charging column in its hour of sore need. General Lee says in his report: ‘Owing to the fact, which was unknown to me when the assault took place, the enemy was enabled to throw a strong force of infantry against our left, already wavering under a concentrated fire of artillery.’ Alexander, Longstreet's chief of artillery, had a reserve of nine howitzers, intending to take them with Pickett across the field. But when they were wanted they had been removed, and could not be found. Fifteen guns were taken out for the advance, but in the crisis, it was found that their chests had not been refilled. Federal artillery wore away the left of the attacking force, and a Vermont brigade charged upon its right. The guns on Round Top enfiladed the line. When Pickett's men reached one hundred yards from the wall, the Federal line broke to the rear. The left of Pickett's division and the right of Pettigrew's and Trimble's line reached the stone wall, silenced the guns and captured prisoners. Armistead's brigade, which was Pickett's second line, also reached the wall. And for a little while there seemed no enemy before them. In Meade's center a long space was held by men in gray, and the stars and bars waved over the stone wall. Above the stone wall was the crest of the ridge, and Armistead, with his hat on the point of his sword, sprang forward, crying, ‘Boys, we must give them the cold steel; who will follow me?’ A line of Virginians leaped forward and reached the crest, when Armistead fell, and his line fell back to the wall. Some one without authority ordered a retreat, and many turned to flee. From the flanks, forces of Federal troops swarmed in upon them, and 4,000 men were cut off from the retreat, and were prisoners. Other brigades were sent forward, but too late, and only to be driven back. Two divisions in reserve, Anderson on the left and McLaws on the right, received no orders from Longstreet to advance.

Colonel Freemantle, of the English army, writes: ‘General Lee was perfectly sublime.’ Calm and quiet, he and his staff were earnestly engaged in rallying the returning men, encouraging them with many kind words. General Wilcox came to him much distressed, but General Lee said to him: ‘Never mind, General, all this has been my fault. It is I that have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it the best you can.’ During the immensely critical [153] action of the afternoon, a cavalry charge under General Farnsworth against the Confederate right had been repulsed. And Stuart, with the Confederate cavaly, had attempted to get around the Federal right beyond Culp's hill and reach the Baltimore Turnpike, but was repulsed by General Gregg.

Would General Meade advance in force? Lee's artillery was put in battery on Semirrary Ridge, and the depleted ranks of the divisions were promptly drawn into line. But both had suffered enormously, and neither was capable of attack. The Confederate loss in the three days was something more than 20,000, one-third of a total of 63,000 of all arms. Dead on the field were Armistead, Garnett, Pender, Barksdale and Semmes. Seriously wounded were Wade, Hampton, Hood, Kemper, Heth, Pettigrew, Trimble, Scales, Jenkins, and S. T. Anderson, while Archer was a prisoner. In an unusual percentage of young regimental and company officers, the flower of the Southland, were left upon the field. Of many of them and a multitude of men in the ranks, the pride and hope of the best of homes, no tidings came back. In unknown graves they sleep, many of them in Hollywood, willing sacrifices, offered to their country and their God.

The day after.

One whole day—it was Saturday, the 4th of July—both armies rested, as if the memories of a common American liberty and achievement forbade a disturbance of the day sacred to all. On the night of the 4th, the trains began to retire, by Cashtown and Fairfield, through the gaps of the South Mountains. Long lines of ambulances wended their painful way in the darkness, over rocky roads, through the cold and damp of mountain passes. The artillery followed, and then the divisions which had left so many behind. Ewell's corps, as a rear guard, did not leave Gettysburg until the forenoon of July 5th. The sun was shining brightly when I rode with General Ewell out of the town square, and by the Seminary, which was filled with our wounded officers and men.

In an address to his command at Hagerstown, July 11th, General Lee said: ‘After long and trying marches, endured with fortitude that has ever characterized the soldiers of Northern Virginia, you have penetrated the country of our enemies, and recalled to the defence of their own soil those who were engaged in the invasion of ours. You have fought a fierce and sanguinary battle, which, if not [154] attended with the success that hitherto crowned your efforts, was marked with the same heroic spirit that has commanded the respect of your enemies, the gratitude of your country, and the admiration of mankind.’

It was not until the night of July 13th that General Lee and his army recrossed the Potomac, and were once more at home in Virginia.

Was it A. Drawn battle?

Was it in any sense a drawn battle? One day and two nights General Meade made no counter attack. In the retirement of the Confederate army there was no rear guard action. It was ten days after the close of the battle before Lee crossed the Potomac river, and he was not attacked by Meade. He carried nearly 5,000 prisoners away, and there was no attempt to recover them. He carried his artillery back and his long wagon trains almost without interruption and without serious loss. On Virginia soil his troops were an organized army, with splendid morale, and ready for battle at any moment. Whatever of defeat the army of Northern Virginia met at Gettysburg, it was neither destroyed nor yet overthrown, nor was it broken in spirit.

The battle was fought by the Confederate army for the first time in the enemy's country, with communications cut, with limited supplies, and, as soon as the action was joined, compelled to keep closely inside the narrow lines.

As to numbers, Colonel Livermore (p. 102) estimates the Union army, as total engaged, 88,289, and the Confederate army, as effectives, 75,000, a disparity of over 13,000 in favor of the army of General Meade. But on June 27th, General Hooker, urging a request for reinforcements, writes to General Halleck that his whole force of enlisted men present for duty would not exceet 105,000. General Meade testified that, on taking command, the returns called for 105,000, and that he had ‘upon that battlefield’ a little under 105,000 men. General Humphreys confirmed these figures by his estimate of 99,475, to which were to be added troops that arrived andactually went into battle, making, say 103,000. Colonel Walter Taylor, Lee's Adjutant-General, has estimated Lee's effective force on the field at 67,000, making a disparity of 36,000. In round numbers, Meade's army was one-fourth more than Lee's.

The loss of Stonewall Jackson, a month before Gettysburg, was [155] a bereavement that was felt deeply by the whole army, by its commanding general and throughout the command. When Jackson fell, Lee, as he himself said, lost his right arm. The void which had been made was too great to be so soon closed; the wound which the army received, too deep to be healed in four weeks. Lee himself felt his great loss. He felt uneasy and without confidence, as many of his generals remarked. After the war, at Lexington, to Professor White, of the University, General Lee said: ‘If I had had Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg, we should have won a great victory.’ The absence of Jackson accounted for the failure to take the Cemetery the first day, as it certainly accounted for the want of concert and confidence throughout the whole action. The compelling will was not there to move an army corps as an unit, with his own imparted strength, in one vigorous and persistent attack.

The absence of General Stuart and the cavalry was seriously felt by General Lee. He could neither ascertain the location and numbers of the various forces of his enemy, nor could he cover the movements of his own separated divisions. General Stuart used the discretion given, and believed he was doing a valuable thing by cutting the communication with Washington, but that was so temporary that it had no great value, and the movement seriously crippled his own army. It resulted in bringing on an engagement prematurely, and under conditions that gave General Lee the offensive, and the offensive in as difficult a place as could be found perhaps in all eastern Pennsylvania.

Yet the most serious obstacle which Lee had to overcome was the unwillingness of General Longstreet to obey the wishes of his commanding General. He had views of his own about the campaign, and because General Lee did not accept them, he resisted the will of his commander from the beginning to the end. With the head of his column a few miles from the field on the evening of the first day, and knowing well the necessity and General Lee's expressed wish, his troops were not brought up until well in the second day, and were not in action until 4 o'clock. On the third day he moved with the same reluctance and dilatoriness, and failed to support the attack made by Pickett's column, when he had two divisions of his own in hand. There is no great commander in history, except Robert E. Lee, who would not have found on the spot a solution for the behavior of General Longstreet. ‘Nothing that occurred at Gettysburg,’ says General Gordon, “nor anything [156] that has been written since of that battle, has lessened the conviction that, had General Lee's orders been promptly and cordially executed, Meade's center on the third day would have been penetrated and the Union army overwhelmingly defeated.” (Gordon's Reminiscences of the Civil War, p. 160.)

Was the invasion of Pennsylvania a great mistake? So thought the Count de Paris in his able review of the campaign. But General Lee never thought it a mistake. In 1864, the next year, he said to General Heth: ‘If I could do so—unfortunately, I cannot— I would again cross the Potomac and invade Pennsylvania. I believe it to be the true policy, nothwithstanding the failure of last year.’ For the Confederacy, Gettysburg deferred for one year at least the advance on the Confederate capital, and by so much prolonged the hope of independence.

A great soldier.

Was General Robert E. Lee really a great soldier and a great commander?

One might call the roll of the distinguished Federal commanders who, with large advantage of numbers, equipment, resources, credit, and backed by great States, populous and rich, came out to try conclusions with him. They were George B. McClellan, John Pope, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, George Meade, and Ulysses Grant, before whose almost unlimited numbers, at last, the Army of Northern Virginia, without reinforcement, without ammunition and without supplies, fought itself down to nothing.

Another answer might be the battles he fought on the Chickahominy, and in the defence of Richmond; of the Second Manassas, of Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and again on the Chickahominy, and the defence of Petersburg. Across these fields are written imperishably the generalship of Lee—in all the detail of preparation, in the skilful choice of topographical lines, in strategic movement, in the audacity of perilous advance, in knowledge of the capacity of his own officers and their troops, in fine perception of the enemy's thought and movement, and in masterly overcoming difficulties that came from inadequate supplies of ordnance, ammunition and army stores of every kind.

Yet another answer would be the four years of continuous and wasting struggle, by a blockaded country, without manufactures, without munitions of war, almost without a navy, without well developed [157] transportation lines, without credit abroad, with supplies given by a willing people fast disappearing, with fields left untilled and unproductive because the young men were under arms on the battle lines, and with sections constantly widening in devastation and depopulation. And yet General Lee for three years led a patriotic army against superior numbers across victorious fields, and sent a line of notable commanders, defeated, home. Moreover, the historian of the future will discern that ‘The fall of Richmond and the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia were consequence of events in the west and southwest, and not directly of the operations in Virginia.’ (Early.)

Was he indeed a great commander? In 1861, General Winfield Scott said; ‘If given an opportunity, Lee will prove himself the greatest captain of history.’ To General William C. Preston, General Scott said: ‘I tell you, that if I were on my death's bed tomorrow, and the President of the United States should tell me that a great battle was to be fought for the liberty or slavery of the country, and asked my judgment as to the ability of a commander, I would say with my dying breath, “Let it be Robert E. Lee!” ’

During the war, Stonewall Jackson said: ‘General Lee is a phenomenon. He is the only man I would be willing to follow blindfolded.’

After the war, Lord Wolsey said: ‘I have met many of the great men of my time, but Lee alone impressed me with the feeling that I was in the presence of a man who was cast in grander mould and made of different and finer metal than all other men.’

President Andrews, of Brown University, said: I fail to find in the books any such masterful generalship as this hero showed, holding that slim, gray line, half starved, with no prospects of additions, and fighting when his army was too hungry to stand, and the rifles were only useful as clubs. His courage was sublime. He was as great as Gustavus Adolphus, or Napoleon, or Wellington, or Von Moltke.

Was he a great commander? In the esteem of the army he led he was—in victory, in defeat, and in surrender, there was a confidence and devotion that grew and deepened to the end of the struggle, a universal faith in his capacity, his energy, his untiring loyalty and zeal. In the esteem of the people of the South, the ability of Lee to lead their army in Virginia was unquestioned then, and remains unquestioned to this day.


A great man.

Leaving the question of his military capacity, was Robert E. Lee a great man? In the Arlington mansion there is on the first floor, a small room, to the left of the hall, which was his office and library. One day in the spring of the year 1861 he paced the floor, and alone fought out the battle in his breast of a great decision. In the evening, with a clear conscience, and looking to God for his blessing, he lay down his commission and the offer of the supreme command of the United States army; he laid down the flag he had followed, and to which he had given the prime of his manhood; he gave up the hope of peace between the States of the Republic for which he had longed and prayed; he surrendered the ancestral home and its traditions, his property and the happiness of his family. And he took up instead the rights of his State under the Constitution, and the honor and hopes of a people without an army, at the beginning of a struggle over which hung a thick veil. No small man ever made such a decision.

Is magnanimity an element of greatness? After Chancellorsville he wrote to Stonewall Jackson: ‘I congratulate you on the victory, which is due to your skill and energy.’ At the close of the battle of Gettysburg, he said: ‘All this has been my fault. It is I that have lost this fight.’ After his return to Virginia, he urged upon President Davis the acceptance of his resignation. Of the army he said: ‘It would be the happiest day of my life to see at its head a worthy leader, one that would accomplish more than I can perform and all that I have wished. I hope your excellency will attribute my request to the true reason—the desire to serve my country and to do all in my power to insure the success of her righteous cause.’

At Appomattox, returning from the negotiations of surrender, his men gathered around him, veterans of many fields, grim and ragged, weeping as with broken hearts, and blessing him as they wept. To them, with tones trembling with deep emotion, he said: ‘Men, we have fought through the war together. I have done the best I could for you. My heart is too full to say more?’

Are the love of peace and order marks of greatness? After the surrender of the worn remnant of his army, not for a moment would he consent to the schemes of fierce and foolish men for the continuance of the struggle and a guerrilla warfare in the mountains. He [159] counseled return to home and peaceable pursuits, and unquestioning obedience to law, and himself promptly set the example.

He spoke of a small farm to earn his daily bread, for retirement and simplicity and family happiness. He declined every proposition of emolument and publicity in this country and abroad. Under abuse and threatening, he was patient and silent. To a small college in the Virginia Valley he went to a position, not conspicuous, not lucrative, and involved labor and anxiety, and there gave himself to the education of the youth of the South, as the truest and largest hope of the recovery of the people from the waste and calamity of war.

General Lee was distinctly a great college executive. In the prime of his manhood, he was the successful superintendent of West Point, and the last six years of his life were spent as president of Washington College. He impressed his great personality upon the entire college community, and established its high ideals of character and manhood. He gave attention to every detail of college activity, no matter how minute. His annual reports to the college trustees are models of conciseness, and show the hand of a master. He gave his energies to constructive work, anticipating Southern thought as to the necessity of scientific and practical education. He was a prophet of the modern theory that the college library should be the chief college ‘laboratory.’ He commended and strengthened the honor system in Virginia colleges. For himself he had a superb literary style, and his great interest in the college library marked him as a man of distinct literary tastes and aptitude. When he undertook to inform himself, he would exhaust the subject, by reading the great authorities consulted, by personal investigation of living sources, and by profound reflection. One day some competent person will bring to the knowledge of all the spirit and work of Robert E. Lee as an educator of youth. And over it all will be shown his intense love and admiration for youth, and his own personal devotion to the profession which in such large degree holds the future in its grasp.

You will permit me to say that, in the midst of all modern materialism and naturalism, and the various theories of what produces a noble manhood, that I still believe that religion is the one solid and sure bases of character, pure and peaceful, and the supreme guide into all lofty career—unselfish, generous, fruit-bearing for the hungry [160] multitudes. In the religion of Robert E. Lee there was faith without fanaticism, prayer without pretension, a reality, a gentleness and simplicity that kept him brave in peril and tranquil in disaster. He feared God and was strong. ‘He loved God and little children.’ In a life of simple Christian faith, of high and noble purposes, of unweary discharge of duty, he who had not won the independence of the Confederacy of the South, taught all his countrymen lessons that will not be obliterated, but will help to establish the American people in that righteousness which exalteth a nation, which is the strength and honor of any people, and gave them a monumental light that will never go out. The Confederacy of the South long ago furled its banner, and the people accepted the arbitrament of war. Whatever else it gave to the common country, not the least will be the memory of the young soldiers who, with valor and devotion, freely gave their lives at the stone walls on the heights of Gettysburg. And not the least splendid contribution to American history is the character of their great captain, Robert E. Lee.

No seed is lost that makes a fruitful Nature
     Bring from her breast a grand, majestic tree:
Nor can a cause be wholly unavailing
     That yields the world a perfect flower like Lee.

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