Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/212
206 Southern Historical Society Papers.
theme was the events that led up to the battle of Gettysburg, and the facts he gave bear upon the responsibility for the disaster. Be- low is presented the first instalment of the address, which will be concluded next Sunday. Colonel Marshall said :
In casting about for a subject on which to address you on this occasion, it seemed to me that I could select nothing more interest- ing than an account of the movements of General Lee's army which resulted in the battle of Gettysburg. I shall not attempt to describe the battle itself, but I think the movements and events which I shall narrate will be found to have had a controlling influence not only in bringing on the engagement, but in determining the result, so far as that result was affected by the circumstances under which the battle was fought. Although it is true that ' ' the battle is not always to the strong," it is equally true that no force, however strong, can dis- pense with the precautions that will enable it to put forth its entire strength, and to avail itself of all the aid it can get from advantages of position and of the mode of attack or defence.
I propose to consider the subject in the light of the knowledge possessed by the actors in the events I shall describe, and not in the light of our present knowledge, and shall endeavor to confine myself to the contemporaneous reports and correspondence of those who took leading parts, in the latter of which especially can be found an authentic and trustworthy record of the reasons and motives that controlled their conduct, and of the knowledge of facts upon which their judgments were formed. In other words, I desire to present 'to you the facts, not as they actually were, but as they appeared at the time to those who were called upon to direct the affairs of which I shall speak.
All who have read what has been written by some of those who took a prominent part in the events of that time will not fail to ob- serve how much the writers are influenced in their judgment of the conduct of others, not to say in their accounts of what they them- selves did or advised, by after-acquired information of the facts. Indeed, some of these writers, especially when they are autobiogra- phers, have developed a degree of military capacity, judgment, and skill, when writing in the light of their present knowledge of facts, which has astounded those who knew them when they were obliged to act upon information derived from the picket-line, from reconnois- sances, from scouts, from citizens, from deserters, and other sources of knowledge upon which those in charge of military movements are