Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/124

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120 Southern Historical Society Papers.

accomplished; for as soon as Hooker discerned the movement of Lee, he hastened to follow and to put his army between Lee and Washington. Had Lee gained a crushing victory Baltimore and Washington would have been in his power, and then in all prob- ability peace would have ensued. Public opinion in the North was greatly depressed, and sentiments of peace were ready to assert themselves. An incident illustrated this. As we were marching from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, I observed some ladies near the roadway wave their handkerchiefs to our passing troops. It excited my attention and curiosity. I rode up to them and said, "Ladies, I observed you waving your handkerchiefs as if in cheer to our army. Why so? We are your enemies and the en- emies of your country." They replied: "We are tired of the war and want you to conquer peace." I was greatly impressed with their answer, and saw that there might be true patriotism in their act and hopes.

The invasion of Pennsylvania was wise and prudent from the standpoint of both arms and statesmanship. Everything promised success. Never was the Army of Northern Virginia in better con- dition. The troops had unbounded confidence in themselves and in their leaders. They were full of the fervor of patriotism had abiding faith in their cause and in the favoring will of Heaven. There was an elation from the fact of invading the country of an enf- emy that had so cruelly invaded theirs. The spirit and elan o our soldiers was beyond description. They only could know it who felt it. They had the courage and dash to accomplish any- thing everything but the impossible. On the contrary, the Fed- eral army was never so dispirited, as I afterwards learned from some of its officers. And this was most natural. They marched from the bloody fields of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the scenes of their humiliating and bloody defeat, to meet a foe from whom they had never won a victory.

But alas, how different the result! Gettysburg was such a sad ending to such high and well assured hopes! Things went unto- ward with our generals. And Providence itself, on which we had so much relied, seems to have led us by our mishaps to our own destruction.

The disastrous result of the campaign, in my opinion, was not due to the generalship of Lee, but wholly to the disregard of his directions by some of his generals. The chief among these, I re-