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THE THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR.
Review of the Battle of Chancellorsville.-Two Defects in the Victory of the Confederates." The Finest Army on the Planet."-Analysis of the Victory.-Generalship of Lee.-Services and Character of the great Confederate Leader.-His Commonplaces and his Virtues.-The Situation in Virginia.-Lee's Preparations for the Summer Campaign.-Hooker to be Maneuvered out of Virginia.—Reorganization of Lee's Army.-The Affair of Brandy Station.-THE CAPTURE OF WINCHESTER.-The Affair of Aldie's Station.-Lee's Army Crossing the Potomac.-Invasion of Pennsylvania.-Alarm in the North.-Hooker Out-Generalled and Removed. The Mild Warfare of the Confederate Invaders.-Southern "Chivalry."-General Lee's Error. -His Splendid March from Culpepper Court House to Gettysburg.-Feverish Anticipations in Richmond.-THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG.-First Day's Engagement.— A Regiment of Corpses.-Charge of Gordon's Brigade.-The Nine Mississippi Heroes.-The Yankees Driven through Gettysburg.-A Fatal Mistake of the Confederates.-General Lee's Embarrassments.-THE SECOND DAY.-Cemetery Hill.Early's Attack Almost a Success.-Adventure of Wright's Brigade.-THE THIRD DAY.-Sublime Terrors of the Artillery.--Heroic and Ever-Memorable Charge of Pickett's Division on the Heights.-Half a Mile of Shot and Shell.-Pickett's Supports Fail.-The Recoil.-General Lee's Behavior.-His Greatness in Disaster.-Immense Carnage.-Death of General Barksdale, “the Haughty Rebel."-General Lee's Retreat.-The Affair of Williamsport.-Lee Recrosses the Potomac.-Success of his Retreat.-Yankee Misrepresentation.-Review of the Pennsylvania Campaign.-Half of Lee's Plans Disconcerted at Richmond.-Results of the Battle of Gettysburg Negative.--Lee's Retreat Across the Potomac an Inconsequence.--Disappointment in Richmond.-The Budget of a Single Day in the Confederate Capital.
In the close of a former volume, we proposed to open the Third Year of the War with a revised and extended account of the battles fought between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, on the 1st, 2d, 3d and 4th of May, 1863. On examination, however, of what has already been written of these events, we find so little of authentic detail to add to it, that we shall content ourselves with a general reference to this important series of engagements (known collectively as the battle of Chancellorsville), and a concise statement of results.
We have here again the old story of a great and bloody battle, defective in conclusion and barren in practical results. The Confederates had failed to capture Sedgwick's corps by
not seizing Banks' Ford. The capture of his whole corps would then have been inevitable, for we held the access to Fredericksburg guarded. As it was, Hooker was able to cross the river under cover of night with all of his army but what had been lost in the casualties of the fight; and the Southern public were again treated to the old excuse that we had neither the men nor the facilities to pursue him.
But, notwithstanding these deficiencies of our victory, it was a great and brilliant one, and it gave the Confederacy occasion of pride second to none in the war. The Confederates had whipped what Hooker entitled "the finest army on the planet." They had done this with an effective fighting force which, compared with that of the enemy, was as three to ten. They had put thirty thousand of the enemy hors du combat, while our own casualties did not foot up more than one-third of that number. This battle, more than anything else, confirmed the fame of General Lee; for, however it had failed in accomplishing all that was possible, it was at least a victory won against an enemy of superior numbers, who had the advantage of the initiative and naturally secured that of position.
General Hooker had come with eight days' rations and a plan of battle combining all that was essential on paper to a complete success. General Lee had to watch the movements of Hooker until they were developed; to arrest his progress by attack; to engage him at the same time with a flank movement with a portion of his forces; and then to transfer his blows to Sedgwick. All this was done with a readiness of combination that showed a high order of military ability. Hooker was defeated by two critical circumstances: the flank movement of Jackson, executed with signal rapidity and decision, and the failure of Sedgwick to effect a junction. It was these movements and interpositions directed by Lee which ranked him among the greatest of modern strategists. He was now recognized as the master military mind of the Confederacy.
General Lee had, by a perceptible progress, risen to be one of the most remarkable men of the revolution. His military life had been one of steady advancement. He had graduated at West Point in 1829, at the head of his class; and it is said that, in that severe school and early test of the soldier, he had never been marked with a demerit or had received a repri
mand. He had twice been brevetted in the Mexican war. For thirty years he had served the United States, and the period of disunion found him lieutenant-colonel of that famous regiment of cavalry of which Sydney Johnson was colonel.
Upon the secession of Virginia he was appointed commanderin-chief of her forces, and organized an army with a system and rapidity that at once surprised and gratified the public. When President Davis made his appointments of generals, he was the third on the list: General Cooper being first, and General Sydney Johnson second. The appointments were made with reference to the rank held by each officer in the old army. The unfortunate campaign of General Lee in Western Virginia in the first year of the war threw a shadow on his fame; it disappointed his admirers and occasioned a very general denunciation of his ability. The battles around Richmond secured his fame. There was, in fact, but little military merit in them; but there was a great success, and results alone are the standards of popular appreciation. It was when General Lee moved out to the line of the Rappahannock that the true display of his abilities commenced; and his title to a substantial and abiding fame he had now crowned with the victory of Chancellorsville.
No one had ever accused General Lee of "genius." A sedate, methodical man, putting duty before everything else, illustrating the unselfish and Christian orders of virtue, almost sublime in his magnanimity, and uniting with these qualities a fair intellectual ability and an excellent practical judgment, this modern copy of Washington had nothing with which to dazzle mankind, but much with which to win its sober admiration. It has often been remarked how entirely limited by professional routine was the circle of intellectual accomplishments in the old army of the United States. Thirty years in this school had not made General Lee an "Admirable Crichton." Outside of his profession, his conversation was limited to a few commonplaces; he knew nothing of literature, and never attempted to draw an illustration from history. But the stranger who was at first shocked at such poverty of accomplishments in one so famous was soon won to admiration by the charming simplicity of a man who knew but little outside of the line of his duty, but in that was pre-eminently able