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Sav GA Aug 30 1889

Isaac R Pennypacker

Phil Press

Dear Sir

Your kind note of the 10th duly received after my return from a short trip.

I have been for the first time in my life, half-sun st[r?]uck and have been disinclined to write or do anything else, until the cool [ warm?], came to us yesterday.

The heat has been more continuous than ever before in my experience and the day weather, all together has made the climate [precariously?] exhaustive.

I hope soon to comply with your kind call for more matter from Me, and am much obliged to you for making it.

I delivered a lecture before the GA Historical society in June ___ subject the Battle of Fredericksburg 1862 which will be published in the Century some time in the future-- I am assured--or rather so much of it as related directly to the battle. So I am led to believe!

According to my understanding of that battle, if Franklin had pushed his forced with vigor and enthusiasm, bringing all his troops into the fight--as the Confederates always did-- I believe that Gen. Lee would probably have retired toward Richmond. And it only confirms my belief that if Franklin had pushed his advantages gained, when he found Crampton’s Gap in Maryland in my rear-- Gen. Lee would have had to retreat across the Potomac, or have met great disaster about Gettysburg.

I used to know Franklin well, was at West Point with him, some classes ahead, and already did advise him as a gentleman great ability and of high character. But he was not of that class of commander, who could risk very much, even to obtain the greatest results, should he succeed: He saw too many dangers, and shrunk from a number of them, which existed in his imagination only or were so remote and depended on his adversary having information that it was nearly impossible for him to have, as to justify this. Having called imaginary , and therefore I think he should be held responsible in the greatest measure for the failure of McClellan to Gen over Lees army in Maryland. and for the disaster which followed the assault on Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg.

I would like to send you an article which would go to sustain the assertion that if Franklin had been energetic in pursuing the advantages gained in [forcing?] Crampton’s Gap in rear of McLaws in Maryland. The Battle of Sharpsburg would not have been fought. But Gen Lee would have been retired across the Potomac and incidentally I will bring in the conduct of Franklin’s Command at Fredericksburg, to show that he was of the class of Commander who were too jealous of their reputations even to risk disaster, and therefore was as unsafe to rely on in a great enterprise, as it would be upon one day later Gen Sickles, who would done [sic] anything to bring fame to Sickles. Merit was his first consideration.

Very respectfully

Your obedient servant

L McLaws

Creation Date





Chatham County




United States

Creator Life Dates



Savannah, Lafayette McLaws, Isaac Pennypacker, Battle of Fredericksburg, Civil War, battle, military

Date Digital


Document Type



Military 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, August 30, 1889