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April 25, 1888
Isaac R. Pennypacker
Editor Weekly Press
Yours of 17 received to day together with the papers containing the remaining portions of my article in review of Lacy’s Book, and for which please accept my thanks - If I could obtain copies of those papers, viz. of 15, 22 & 29 I would like to send one to each of my friends, who were prominent in that battle - among them Gen, Longstreet, Gen J.B. Kershaw Camden S.C., Genl E.P. Alexander Sav. Ga. Gen Maxley Sav. - and retain two or three copies for myself & family - Have just received a note from Gen Longstreet ordering four copies - will send him in mind.
The reference to the re-union at Gettysburg, neither Genl Alexander Lovel nor myself have thus far been noticed in connection with it - Genl Sickles on a previous occasion sent me a very pressing invitation promising me good cheer and to give me a tent on the field, next to himself - But now I suppose as he may think I am not a Sickles man - it will not be in order to have me - However although the invitation would be taken as simply complimentary - I could not go, for the reasons given for not accepting your very kind invite for me to go in company with yourself out to tour the field.
Gen E.M. Law was a Brigadier in Hoods Division and was harshly treated by Genl. Longstreet and perhaps is inimical to him today. He has gotten many points from me in reference to my Division and has my Official Report as published in the “War of the Rebellion” which reports is very minute and lengthy - He has also obtained my statement in regard to some matters which are put down in the books, in every official report - How far his views at the causes of failure in that last campaign may agree with mine I, of course, cannot say, as yet. Whether he thinks that it was not intended to be a success or was unsuccessful because success was not possible, I do not know. If I chose to do so, I think I could make others besides myself, think that it was not intended to be a success.
Gen Law wrote an article whether published or remains to be, I do not know - concerning matters that happened after the battle of Chickamauga, he sent it to me for perusal. - I found that he had made statements of affairs, for instance - asserting that the enemy was not pursued after the battle! not knowing that I was ordered in pursuit & went at once - following the enemy to the outskirts of the city (causing them to burn all the houses in front of the fortifications) and holding my ground, until Head Quarters at Watkins Hill overlooking the towns twenty four hours in advance of the rest of the Army - I have no idea what credit was given me for it, simply perhaps, because I never claimed any - I have told him that a pursuit was ordered by Gen Bragg and I was to follow other Divisions - but as the others did not come, I advanced, expecting the others to follow but was mistaken - Gen Cheatham was ordered to report to me, but although he came into the valley, he withdrew his troops because of the large bodies of the enemy he encountered - leaving me on Watkins Hill - he reported in person, after dark, & I told him to stay on the right , 3 miles away. I made no official report of this although my troops were quite hotly engaged, while in the pursuit & my loss was considerable. It has been fashionable to abuse General Bragg attributing every thing that happened wrong, to his unfitness for command, that I would be very glad indeed if you would add your influence to cause a call to be made for Genl Braggs papers so that he may be heard in his own defense - I understand that he left a very full record, and as he was a very ready and very forceful writer, equal to any other in the U.S.A. and occupied the highest positions his narrative of events would be in the highest degree interesting - if his papers could be obtained I know that it would be showing that pursuit was ordered - that my command alone went forward and those who were ordered and did not go will be named! I can only recollect now that Genl Breckinridge was ordered with his Divisions to lead, but he did not come - Why not I never inquired - He may have gone another road.
Senator Pugh of Alabama once told me that Mrs Bragg had offered to give him contents of the papers of her husband - She may be holding them for publication on her own account. If so they should be purchased for the War Record of Rebellion!!
Would be glad should you think my last contribution a worthy one
I have just returned from a long trip into the interior of State, and will leave again in the morning - thus have hastened to reply
Creator Life Dates
Lafayette McLaws, Maryland Campaign, Maryland Heights, Harper's Ferry
Military History | Political History | Social History | United States History
McLaws, Lafayette, "Letter: Lafayette McLaws to Isaac R. Pennypacker, April 25, 1888" (1888). Lafayette McLaws Papers. 6.
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