Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/127
Review of " From Manassas to Appomattox." 115
General Longstreet is of opinion that, even if his assaulting column had been composed of 40,000 men, success was impossi- ble. Taking into consideration the conditions under which the attack was made, he is possibly correct. But he altogether ig- nores the fact that Lee intended his assault to be made in com- bination with the attack of the Second Corps. Why did the combination fail? Shortly after sunrise on July 3, Lee com- mitted the management of the attack on the Federal center to the officer commanding the First Army Corps. Did that officer do all within his power to insure combination and to deal a vigorous and decisive blow? These are the questions which General Longstreet has failed to answer. That his tactics were indififerent seems abundantly clear. Why did the divisions on his right make no energetic demonstration? It is true that they were confronted by superior numbers ; but a semblance of attack would in all likelihood have sufficed to distract the enemy's atten- tion from the assaulting column. Why did he not call upon the division of the Third Corps, which had been placed at his dis- posal ? He had been reluctant to attack on the second day "with one boot ofif;" why did he display less caution on the third day. If, however, it was only his tactical judgment that was at fault, he hardly deserves reprobation. Greater generals than he have committed more glaring blunders in less difficult circumstances. But the crucial question is this: Why did he delay his attack for eight hours, during which time the Second Corps, with which he was to co-operate, was heavily engaged? If he moved only under compulsion, if he deliberately forbore to use his best efforts to carry out Lee's design, and to compel him to adopt his own, the case is very different. That he did so seems perfectly clear, and it is impossible for any sane soldier to justify such conduct.
General Longstreet defends himself by reflecting on the con- duct of the commander-in-chief. Not only, according to his account, was General Lee "excited and off his balance, and la- boring under that oppression (sic) until blood enough was shed to appease him." but he did not "give the benefit of his presence