Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 37.djvu/82
74 Southern Historical Society Papers.
REVIEW OF THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN,
By One Who Participated Therein.
I have frequently been asked by friends and members of my family to write something of my experiences during the great Civil War.
The pressure of a busy professional life has left me little in the way of leisure to gratify this request, and I have always felt that personal experiences were difficult to recall, and at best interested but few people.
I have not been unmindful, too, of Max Muller's caution that he doubted whether any historian would accept a statement made thirty years after the event, without independent confirmation. In writing his autobiography, he says, "All that I can vouch for is, that I read my memory as I should read the leaves of an old manuscript, from which many letters, nay whole words and lines have vanished, and when I am often driven to decipher as a palimpsest what the original uncial writing may have been, T am the first to confess there may be flaws in my memory, there may be before my eyes that magic azure which surrounds the distant past, but I compromise that there shall be no invention, no Dichtung, instead of Wahrich, but always as far as in me lies, truth."
An occasional visit to the battlefields of Gettysburg in these latter years has served to revive my interest in the scenes, some of which I witnessed nearly fifty years ago.
I have been led to read again some of the discussions which were so rife after the war as to the causes of General Lee's fail- ure. These again caused me to review the whole campaign in the light of the official reports and correspondence which have since been published, and the result of these investigations in connection with the facts of which I was personally cognizant are embodied in the following pages.
Popular interest in the battle of Gettysburg has suffered no abatement from the lapse of time. In popular imagination the shouts of the contending hosts, and the echoes of musketry and