Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/116

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

season of active operations. He pointed out clearly its practicability, and the many advantages it would give the Confederacy. The logic and persuasive powers of General Longstreet prevailed so far as to force General Lee to admit that the idea was new, and that he was greatly impressed with it. These two interviews, as related by General Longstreet, are very interesting, mainly from the naive manner in which they are described. But General Lee, like the Secretary, declined to adopt his plan for the approaching campaign. It is not, however, to be thought for a moment that the former rejected it for the reason assigned by General Longstreet, to wit: mainly because it would involve making detachments from his own command. One of the most striking features in General Lee's character was his entire self-abnegation, and as General Longstreet professed for him such respect, admiration and affection, his friends must regret that he has, perhaps thoughtlessly, imputed to him such an unworthy motive, indicative of selfish egotism, as to decline to detach from his command, when thereby such brilliant results would be attained.

General Longstreet proposed to give a detailed account of the Gettysburg campaign from its inception to its "disastrous ending." Any one at all familiar with these three days' conflicts, must know that he greatly exaggerates when he characterizes the results as disastrous. The collision of July 1st all admit was a decided success for the Confederates. It is claimed by them as a brilliant victory. The Federals were driven back a mile or two, through Gettysburg and on to the hills beyond, with a loss of over five thousand prisoners and leaving the field thickly strewn with their dead and wounded. They also claim, and with good reason, that the close of the second day's engagement left them in possession of most of the ground over which they fought. An inspection of the maps of the battle fields of the 2d and 3d will show heavy masses of Federal infantry between the Emmettsburg road and the foot of the ridge ending in Round Top on the Federal left on the 2d, and but few are seen there on the map of the 3d. The third day's fight was a decided victory for the Federal arms. The Confederate assaulting column, composed of three brigades of Pickett's division, Heth's division of four brigades and two brigades of Pender's division—nine brigades in all—was thoroughly repulsed and with unusually heavy loss. Less than one-third of the Confederate infantry was engaged in that assault. The Confederates lay closely confronting their enemy all of the 4th, and had they been attacked,