214 Southern Historical Society Papers.
riding from Carlisle to York, a distance of 36 miles, as Col. Mosby points out, between 8 A. M., and 5 P. M.? I myself rode for General Geo. H. Stewart 50 miles by daylight on June 23rd, in Pennsylvania. But on the supposition that Ewell re- ceived that famous letter and order on the morning of the 28th, how can we account for the fact that Early did not receive Swell's order till the evening of the 291)1?
I submit that these facts make it beyond contradiction that there is an error in the date of the letter as it was copied from memory. The supposition that General Lee sent that letter to Ewell on the night of June 27th bristles with improbabilities. There is the improbability that Lee would have waited till the 3Oth to order Hill and Longstreet to march to Cashtown. There is the improbability that an order of such importance would not be dispatched with due military expedition. Its omission from Lee's letter-book is suggestive of haste. It was written at night, and would seem to have been dispatched at once without tak- ing time to copy it in the letter-book. This increases the im- probability that it would not be sent post haste to Ewell.
Then there is the improbability that Ewell, having received so supremely important an order should have put off its execution for 24 hours from the morning of the 28th to the morning of the 29th. Again, there is the improbability that he should have waited 24 hours before he sent his staff officer to transmit Gen- eral Lee's order to General Early at York. Then finally there is the improbability that General Longstreet and Colonel Taylor and Colonel Marshall and General Long and General Lee himself, should all have believed and stated that the news of the proximity of Hooker should have been brought by a scout on the 28th, if the fact was really known on the 27th.
Colonel Mosby's whole argument on this point hinges on the accuracy of the date of the letter or rather "sketch of a let- ter" written down from memory. It appears to me immensely more likely that Colonel Venable made a mistake of date in writ- ing that sketch of Lee's letter, than that all the improbabilities I have enumerated should have occurred.
Colonel Mosby says: "Nobody can reconcile this letter with Lee's report." Neither can anybody reconcile this letter, as