Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/275
Causes of Lee's Defeat at Gettysburg. 267
pursued, and his troops were so demoralized as to make no resist- ance at all, we would have inflicted no further damage on him, but merely have sent his flying corps further to the rear, to the cover of Meade's advancing columns.
It is not necessary foe me to inform experienced soldiers that an infantry force in fighting trim cannot overtake a flying one; and it is well known that we had no cavalry up at that time, ex- cept a small regiment of Jenkins' cavalry and White's battallion which had been with me, and which I had to use in guarding the prisoners and the trains. What we wanted was not the possession of Cemetery or Gulp's Hill merely, but a decisive victory and a crushing defeat of the enemy on the soil of Pennsylvania. The possession of either of those hills on that afternoon might have made that fight a complete one and a victory for us, but it would not have insured the kind of victory we wanted, for we would have had to seek the enemy elsewhere and fight him again.
If asked why it was that I was myself so anxious to go on, my reply is, that I knew nothing of the rest of Meade's army, but that it was moving north; that I took it for granted there was an object in fighting there; and that I regarded it my duty to fight the enemy when I met him, and continue to do so until the victory' was complete, or the orders of my superiors arrested me. If I had known then all I know now, probably I would have had a dif- ferent view.
Meade had selected Pipe Creek as the position for his army to receive our attack, and I presume it was a strong one, as it was selected by the Corps of Engineers under his Chief Engineer, Warren.
If we had seized the hills at Gettysburg, Meade would not have attacked us, but would have waited for us to attack him, as before stated; for that was his manifest policy. We would have had to reconnoitre his position before going into action, and before we could have got ready to attack him, our short stock of provisions would have been exhausted. We were compelled to get our provis- ions from the country we were in. EwelPs corps was pretty well sup- plied for a few days, my division best of all, for which the town of York is not yet done paying. We had pretty well gleaned the country through which Longstreet and Hill afterwards came, and they were not so well supplied. The country around Gettysburg