Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/203
Stuart in the Gettysburg Campaign. 191
have turned back, gone over the Blue Ridge and crossed the river at Shepherdstown. But it was easier then to go on than to turn back. He simply obeyed General Lee's order, kept on and passed around Hooker's rear. He could not possibly have reached Shepherdstown before the night of the 27th, which was the time he crossed at Seneca. General Lee had then been two days at Chambersburg.
If Stuart had gone back to Shepherdstown he would have rested for a night, and then have moved on through some pass in the South Mountain to join Early at York. He would have reached there about the time Early was leaving to join Ewell.
Stuart's crossing at Seneca, so near Washington, cutting the canal, intercepting communications and capturing supply trains seriously impeded the operations of the Northern army. Meade's attention was directed from Lee ; he sent two-thirds of his cavalry and three army corps off to the east to intercept Stuart, save Bal- timore, and open his communications, which Stuart had cut. But the fruit of these operations was lost by A. P. Hill's and Heth's Quixotic adventures in going off without orders to Gettysburg.
Yet nobody would suspect from reading General Lee's two reports, or what his staff officers have written, that A. P. Hill and Heth broke up his plan of campaign. And here I will notice a statement in Colonel Taylor's book — "Four Years With Lee" — that does great injustice to his chief. He says that at Cash- town, on the morning of July ist, Lee stopped and had a talk with A. P. Llill before he started to Gettysburg. If true, it makes General Lee responsible for the blunder of that move- ment. Fortunately for General Lee's reputation, this statement is contradicted by the report of General Pendleton, who rode that day with General Lee.
On the morning of July ist his headquarters were at Green- wood, about ten miles west of Cashtown. From there he wrote Imboden that his headquarters for the next few clays would be at Cashtown. It must have been long after noon when General Lee reached Cashtown, as Pendleton says he did not stop there, but rode rapidly forward to the sound of the guns. He reached the field, about eight miles off, near the close of the fight. Heth's report says he left Cashtown about 5 o'clock in the morning.