Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Battle of Gettysburg: we could have whipped you

Lorenzo L. Crounse, chief correspondent for the New York Times during part of the Civil War, was present at the Battle of Gettysburg. His July 8 column, "Further Details of the Great Battles of Friday", contains the following interesting conversation between a captured Confederate colonel and a Federal captain:

A peculiar fact concerning our position is contained in the expression of surprise which the rebel officers uttered when they crossed our lines as prisoners of war. One of the Colonels said, as he looked at our thin line, "Where are the men who fought us"? "Here", said a Captain. "My God!" exclaimed the Colonel, "if only we had another line we could have whipped you;" and then, still gazing about him in astonishment, he continued, with great emphasis, "By God, we could have whipped you as it was!" This is a positive fact, and illustrates how the noble Army of the Potomac can yet fight after all the imputations of demoralization and inefficiency which have been heaped upon it.

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