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Savannah, Ga Feby 13 1888

Isaac R Pennypacker

Editor Phil. Press

Dear Sir

I sent you a few days since, a review of Genl Long. “Gettysburg”--in his work, called “Memoirs of Gen Lee”--so far on he refers to the operations of McLaws Division--I wrote a letter to accompany the paper, but by mistake it was endorsed[?] with the roll of manuscript - I suppose, as it cannot be found, to make sure that you receive one, I trouble you with this.

I therein stated, or intended to write, that I would at once commence a paper, on the Maryland Campaign of 1862, especially commenting therein on the failure of Franklin to push his advantage, after having forced the Crampton’s Gap, some five or six miles above Harper’s Ferry, and hope to give you a paper that will be acceptable.

Several years ago, five or six or perhaps 8 years ago, Genl Long published an article in some magazine or newspaper stating therein that, when Gen Lee assumed command after the battle of Seven Pines--the day after Genl Johnston was wounded - he, Gen L[ee], found the army very despondent; but that the presence of Genl Lee inferred new life into it. Gen Longstreet sent me clippings from Longs article and asked if it was true as Long stated, with my command. that he had not discussed it with his - I replied, ridiculing the idea + saying that it was far-fetched; and absurd--that nothing had happened to dampen the ardor of the troops, and [or?] Gen Lee was not known to the army then - and had up to that time, had done nothing to bring him into favorable notice - on the contrary, his campaign in West Va from whatever cause, no one knew, had been a failure - and therefore, if there was a despondent spirit upon us when he came, it must have been, because, Genl Lee was to replace Genl Johnston, whose course both in the Florida war, + afterward in the Mexican War had been brilliant, + whose conduct at Bull Run had excited much enthusiasm -- that Genl Johnston was well known to be a very chivalrous officer, constantly exposing himself, whenever the chance of success seemed doubtful + was personally always scrupulously affable, especially to the men in the ranks and never otherwise than pleasant to any one.Therefore it must have been, that if there was any ob-jection[?] it was because, not that Gen Lee Gen Johnston was going away -- I wrote freely to Gen Longstreet who was a classmate-- never supposing for a moment that it would be given to the public. But nevertheless he did publish it without my consent + without my knowledge -- Nor did I know of it until many months after. I happened to read in an old paper a reply to my private letter-- made by Gen Long, who wrote in a very irritated manner- This was so long a time after my letter was written to Gen Longstreet that I did not rejoin and now I suppose Gen Long is still irritated and is taking his spite out. My writing, concerning my command, such stuff as we read of in his Memoir + which i took to liberty to correct + hope you will publish

Gen Franklin in a short letter, in reference to the surrender of Harper’s Ferry, says that his Federal commander surrendered the place at 8 oclock. Or I did not know of a White flag until 10 oclock. How did Franklin know as to the flag before I did? + flag or no flag my forces in line against Franklin did not move from this position until later in the day + he had ample time to have attacked us + the results which will have observed what I will try to show.

___ thoughtfully,

L McLaws

Creation Date





Chatham County




United States

Creator Life Dates



Lafayette McLaws, Gettysburg, Crampton's Gap

Date Digital


Document Type



Military History | Political History | Social History | United States History

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Letter: Lafayette McLaws to Isaac R. Pennypacker, February 13, 1888