120 Southern Historical Society Papers.
As no relief was afforded by judicious legislation, bold and suc- cessful military operations were necessary to rouse the drooping spirits of the Confederacy.
Since the battle of Chancellorsville the Army of the Potomac, though dispirited, maintained a threatening attitude; its ranks had been filled to its original numbers, and Richmond was still its objective point.
The relative condition of the opposing armies early in June sug- gested to General Lee the advantage of a departure from a strictly defensive system, and of casting the defence of Richmond on a bold offensive campaign.
Immediately on this decision the Army of Northern Virginia was put in motion for the invasion of the North.
After this brief explanation I will return to the enquiries of . Small raiding parties always infested the line of the Po- tomac when not occupied in force by the Federal army. The raiding corps, under Colonels Mosby and White, were conspicuously known for their bold raids and dashing onslaughts upon trains and unsuspecting parties on both sides of the Potomac. Raiding par- ties of a more formidable character, under Stuart and others, were also projected across the lines, creating in the body politic of the North as little sensation as sticking pins in the hide of the rhino- ceros. In continuation of the answer to the 2d question, I will repeat in substance the remarks of General Lee, when the inva- sion of the North was under consideration: "Should we defeat General Hooker in a general engagement south of the Potomac any where in the vicinity of Washington, his shattered army would find refuge within the defences of that city, as two Federal armies have previously done, and the fruits of victory would again be lost. But should we draw him far away from the defences of his capital, and defeat him on a field of our own choosing, his army would be irretrievably lost, and the victory would be attended with results of the utmost importance." Gettysburg and York were designated as points suitable for such a battle. With such prospects in the range of possibility, any commander might be willing to risk for a time his communications, especially when the theatre of operations abounds in supplies, and the inva- ding army is accompanied by a powerful cavalry. Such were the prospects of General Lee when he crossed the Potomac on .his