The Loiigstreet-Gettysburg Controversy.
The first publication made in reference to the cause of our defeat at Gettysburg by any Confederate who participated in the battle, so tar as I have been able to ascertain, was made by General Long- street in Swinton's " Army of the Potomac," which was published in the spring of 1866.
In this book (page 340) Swinton says, and gives Longstreet as his authority for the statement: " Indeed, in entering upon this cam- paign, General Lee expressly promised his corps-commanders that he would not assume a tactical offensive, but force his antagonist to attack him. Having, however, gotten a taste of blood in the con- siderable success of the first day, the Confederate commander seems to have lost that equipoise in which his faculties commonly moved, and he determined to give battle."
Swinton then proceeds to criticise Lee very severely for not "manoeuvring Meade out of the Gettysburg position," and says: "This operation General Longstreet, who forboded the worst from an attack on the army in position, and was anxious to hold General Lee to his promise, begged in vain to be allowed to execute." (Ibid, p. 341). He quotes General Longstreet as his authority for this, as also for the further criticisms of General Lee which he makes, and the very language of which bears a most remarkable resemblance to what General Longstreet has since printed over his own signature.
NOT REPLIED TO.
These criticisms of Longstreet on Lee were not replied to by the latter, though it is within my personal knowledge that he had Swin- ton's book and read at least a portion of it, and none of Lee's sub- ordinates thought proper to make answer.
A short time after General Lee's death General Longstreet gave out for publication the private letter which he wrote his uncle from Culpeper Courthouse, on July 24, 1863, and in which he distinctly claimed that we lost Gettysburg because Lee refused to take his advice, and fought the battle against his judgment; that, if his (Longstreet' s) plans had been adopted, "great results would have been obtained;" and, "so far as is given to man the ability to judge, we may say with confidence that we should have destroyed the Federal army, marched into Washington, and dictated our terms; or, at least, held Washington, and marched over as much of Pennyslvania as we cared to."
It will be thus clearly seen that General Longstreet first began