Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 37.djvu/98

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

ing "by our rear." At the time the instructions were given, it may have been regarded feasible to cross the river east of the Blue Ridge. "The proposed route in rear of the enemy" would necessarily require a detour, and lead Stuart to the river at a much lower point. It appears most extraordinary that "the proposed route in rear of the enemy" should not be alluded to in the direct instructions given by Lee to Stuart, but come indirectly through Longstreet. At any rate, the "suggestions" made by Longstreet, fell in with Stuart's temper, and he proceeded to act upon them, notwithstanding General Longstreet, in the article already referred to, says : "As I was leaving the Blue Ridge, I instructed General Stuart to follow me, and to cross the Potomac at Shepherdstown, while I crossed at Williamsport, ten miles above. In reply to those instructions, General Stuart informed me that he had discretionary powers; whereupon I withdrew."

The correspondence between Lee and Stuart is not complete without adding an extract from a letter, dated 23d June, in which General Lee says:

"* * * If General Hooker's army remains inactive, you can leave two brigades to watch him, and withdraw with the three others, but should he appear to be moving northward, I think you had better withdraw this side of the mountain tomorrow night, cross at Shepherdstown the next day, and move over to Fredericktown. You will, however, be able to judge whether you can pass around their wing without hindrance, doing them all the damage you can, and cross the river east of the mountains. In either case, after crossing the river, you must move on and feel the right of Ewell's troops, * * * but I think the sooner you cross into Maryland after tomorrow, the better."

In view of these letters, it seems reasonably plain that while General Lee's first purpose, communicated to Stuart the same day he gave orders to Ewell to move, was to have Stuart join Ewell at once, if the move could be made, that purpose was modified by the letter of the following day, leaving the crossing at Shepherdstown or east of the mountains to his own judgment, with the injunction that in either case, he should move on and feel the right of Ewell's troops. In giving Stuart this discretion, General Lee did not anticipate, nor did Stuart foresee