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he had an army with zeal unabated, courage intrepid, devotion unchilled; with unbounded confidence in the wisdom of that great chieftian who had so often led them to victory. The strength of the enemy's position; the reduction of our ammunition; the difficulty of procuring supplies, these left no choice but retreat.
On the night of the 4th, General Lee's army began to retire by the road to Fairfield, without any serious interruption on the part of the enemy. In passing through the mountains, in advance of the column, the great length of the trains exposed them to attack by the enemy's cavalry, which captured a number of wagons and ambulances; but they succeeded in reaching Williamsport without serious loss.
They were attacked at that place on the 6th, by the enemy's cavalry, which was gallantly repulsed by General Imboden. The attacking force was subsequently encountered and driven off by General Stuart, and pursued for several miles in the direction of Boonsboro'. The army, after an arduous march, rendered more difficult by the rains, reached Hagerstown on the afternoon of the 6th and morning of the 7th July.*
The following official communication from General Lee illustrates the unreliability of despatches emanating from Yankee generals:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY NORTHERN VIRGINIA, 21st July, 1863.
GENERAL S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector-General C. S. A., Richmond, Va. : General-I have seen in Northern papers what purported to be an official despatch from General Meade, stating that he had captured a brigade of infantry, two pieces of artillery, two caissons, and a large number of small arms, as this army retired to the south bank of the Potomac, on the 13th and 14th inst.
This despatch has been copied into the Richmond papers, and as its official character may cause it to be believed, I desire to state that it is incorrect. The enemy did not capture any organized body of men on that occasion, but only stragglers and such as were left asleep on the road, exhausted by the fatigue and exposure of one of the most inclement nights I have ever known at this season of the year. It rained without cessation, rendering the road by which our troops marched to the bridge at Falling Waters very difficult to pass, and causing so much delay that the last of the troops did not cross the river at the bridge until 1 P. M. on the 14th. While the column was thus detained on the road, a number of men, worn down with fatigue, lay down in barns and by the roadside, and though officers were sent back to arouse them, as the troops moved on, the darkness and rain prevented them from finding all, and many were in this way left behind. Two guns were left in the road. The horses that drew them became exhausted, and the officers went forward to procure others. When they returned, the rear of the column had passed the guns so far that it was deemed unsafe to send back for them, and they were thus lost. No arms, cannon, or prisoners were taken by the enemy in battle, but only such as were left
The enemy in force reached our front on the 12th. A position had been previously selected to cover the Potomac from Williamsport to Falling Waters, and an attack was awaited during that and the succeeding day. This did not take place, though the two armies were in close proximity, the enemy being occupied in fortifying his own lines. Our preparations being completed, and the river, though still deep, being pronounced fordable, the army commenced to withdraw to the south side on the night of the 13th. The enemy offered no serious interruption, and the movement was attended with no loss of material, except a few disabled wagons and two pieces of artillery, which the horses were unable to move through the deep mud.
The following day the army marched to Bunker Hill, in the vicinity of which it encamped for several days. It subsequently crossed the Blue Ridge, and took position south of the Rappahannock.
Any comment on Gettysburg must necessarily be a tantalizing one for the South. The Pennsylvania campaign had been a series of mishaps. General Lee was disappointed of half of his plan, in the first instance, on account of the inability or unwillingness of the Richmond authorities to assemble an army at Culpepper Court-house under General Beauregard, so as to distract the enemy and divide his force by a demonstration upon Washington. Johnston was calling for reinforcements in Mississippi; Bragg was threatened with attack; Beauregard's whole force was reported to be necessary to cover his line on the sea-coast; and the force in Richmond and in North Carolina was very small. Yet with what force Lee had, his campaign proposed great things-the destruction of his adversary, which would have uncovered the Middle and Eastern States of the North; for, behind Meade's array, there was nothing but militia mobs and home-guards incapable of making any resistance to an army of veterans. It was in
behind under the circumstances I have described. The number of stragglers thus lost, I am unable to state with accuracy, but it is greatly exaggerated in the despatch referred to.
I am, with great respect,
Your obedient servant,
anticipation of this great stake that Richmond was on the tiptoe of expectation. For once in the Confederate capital gold found no purchasers, prices declined, speculation was at its wits' end, and men consulted their interests as if on the eve of peace.
The recoil at Gettysburg was fatal, perhaps, not necessarily, but by the course of events, to General Lee's campaign; and the return of his army to its defensive lines in Virginia was justly regarded in the South as a reverse in the general fortunes of the contest. Yet the immediate results of the battle of Gettysburg must be declared to have been to a great extent negative. The Confederates did not gain a victory, neither did the enemy. The general story of the contest is simple. Lee had been unable to prevent the enemy from taking the highlands, many of them with very steep declivities, and nearly a mile in slope. The battle was an effort of the Confederates to take those heights. The right flank, the left flank, the centre, were successively the aim of determined and concentrated assaults. The Yankee lines were broken and driven repeatedly. But inexhaustible reserves and a preponderant artillery, advantageously placed, saved him from rout.
The first news received in Richmond of General Lee's retreat was from Yankee sources, which represented his army as a disorganized mass of fugitives, unable to cross the Potomac on account of recent floods, and at the mercy of an enemy immensely superior in numbers and flushed with victory. A day served to dash the hope of an early peace, and to overcloud the horizon of the war.
A few days brought news from our lines, which exploded the falsehoods of the Yankees, and assured the people of the South that the engagements of Gettysburg had resulted in worsting the enemy, in killing and wounding a number exceeding our own, and in capturing a large number of pris oners; and that the falling back of our army, at least as far as Hagerstown, was a movement dictated by general considerations of strategy and prudence.
And here it must be confessed that the retreat from Hagerstown across the Potomac was an inconsequence and a mystery to the intelligent public. Lee's position there was strong; his force was certainly adequate for another battle; preparations
were apparently made for aggressive movements; and in the midst of all came a sudden renouncement of the campaign and the retreat into Virginia. The public had its secondary wish for the safety of the army. But this did not exclude mortification on the part of those who believed that General Lee had abandoned the enemy's territory, not as a consequence of defeat, but from the undue timidity or arrogant disposition of the authorities who controlled him.
But news of an overshadowing calamity, undoubtedly the greatest that had yet befallen the South, accompanied that of Lee's retreat, and dated a second period of disaster more frightful than that of Donelson and New Orleans. The same day that Lee's repulse was known in Richmond, came the astounding intelligence of the fall of Vicksburg. In twenty-four hours two calamities changed all the aspects of the war, and brought the South from an unequalled exaltation of hope to the very brink of despair.
Vicksburg, "the Heroic City."-Its Value to the Confederacy.-An Opportunity Lost by Butler.-Lieutenant-general Pemberton.-A Favorite of President Davis.-The President's Obstinacy.-Blindness of Pemberton to the Enemy's Designs.-His Telegram to Johnston.-Plan of U. S. Grant.-Its Daring.-THE BATTLE OF PORT GIBSON.-Exposure of General Bowen by Pemberton.-The First Mistake.— Pemberton's Disregard of Johnston's Orders.-Grant's advance against Jackson.Johnston's Evacuation of Jackson.-His Appreciation of the Situation.-Urgent Orders to Pemberton.-A Brilliant Opportunity.-Pemberton's Contumacy and Stupidity. His Irretrievable Error.-Yankce Outrages in Jackson.-THE BATTLE of Baker's CREEK, &c.-Stevenson's Heroic Fight.-Alleged Dereliction of General Loring.His Division Cut Off in the Retreat.-Demoralization of Pemberton's Troops.-The Enemy's Assault on the Big Black.-Shameful Behavior of the Confederates.-A Georgia Hero.-Pemberton and the Fugitives.--His Return to Vicksburg.--Recriminations as to the Disaster of the Big Black.--How Pemberton Was in the Wrong.-Johnston Orders the Evacuation of Vicksburg.-Pemberton's Determination to Hold It.
VICKSBURG had already become famous in the history of the war, from the cupidity of the enemy and the gallantry of its resistance. The habitual phrase in the Yankee newspapers was "the three strongholds of the rebellion, Richmond, Vicksburg, and Charleston." The possession of Richmond would have given an important éclat to the enemy, and some strategic advantages. That of Charleston would have given him a strip of sea-coast and an additional barrier to the blockade. Vicksburg was a prize almost as important as Richmond, and much more so than Charleston. It was the key of the navigation of the Mississippi, and the point of union between. the positions of the Confederacy on the different sides of this
At the time of the fall of New Orleans, the defence of Vicksburg was not even contemplated by the authorities at Richmond; and the city was given up for lost by President Davis, as appears by an intercepted letter from one of his family. It was a characteristic want of appreciation of the situation by the Confederate Administration. It is not improbable, that if Butler had had the enterprise and genius to direct a land attack against Vicksburg, it might have readily fallen, on ac