Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/163

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Causes of Lee's Defeat at Gettysburg.

sir, we did whip them at Gettysburg, and it will be seen for the next six months that that army will be as quiet as a sucking dove.'" The Army of the Potomac made no aggressive movement, saving the fiasco known as Mine Run, from the 3d of July, 1863, until General Grant crossed the Rapidan in May, 1864, precisely ten months afterward.

Whatever opinions may be entertained in regard to the details of the battle of Gettysburg, whether if Stonewall Jackson had been in command of Hill's corps on the first day—July 1st—a different result would have been obtained; whether Longstreet unnecessarily delayed his attack on the second day; whether, as ——— expresses it, "the way in which the fights of the second day were directed does not show the same co-ordination which insured the success of the Southern arms at Gaines' Mill and Chancellorsville;" whether the fight on the second of July should have been at all; whether the attack on the third, known as "Pickett's charge," should have been made, or, whether the failure of this attack was due to the fact that General Lee's orders were shamefully disobeyed, in its not being supported, thereby causing him to lose the battle—or, whether General Lee, seeing the great strength of the enemy's position should have turned it, are opinions upon which men will differ; but they sink into insignificance, in my judgment, when compared with the great cause which brought about the failure of the Pennsylvania campaign of 1863.

The failure to crush the Federal army in Pennsylvania in 1863, in the opinion of almost all the officers of the Army of Northern Virginia, can be expressed in five words—the absence of our cavalry.

Train a giant for an encounter and he can be whipped by a pigmy—if you put out his eyes. The eyes of an army are its cavalry. Before Ewell crossed the Potomac General Lee wrote to General Stuart, commanding the cavalry, in substance, as follows: "Ewell will cross the Potomac on a certain day, at a certain point. Hill will follow Ewell, crossing on a given day at a given point; Longstreet will hold the gaps in the mountains and protect the crossing of these two corps; after Hill has crossed Longstreet will vacate the gaps, and follow Hill; on Longstreet vacating the gaps in the mountains, you will seize them and protect Longstreet's crossing; then follow Longstreet, throw yourself on the right flank of the army, watch the enemy, give me all the information you