EARLY, JUBAL ANDERSON, Major General C.S.A. Autograph letter signed ("J.A. Early") to E.T. Lawsing, Lynchburg, Va., 6 April 1888. 3 pages, large 8vo, with autograph envelope, postmarked. Fine.
EARLY'S ACCOUNT OF LEE'S "LOST DISPATCH" AND ANTIETAM
A late Early letter recounting the incident of the "lost dispatch" found by McClellan's troops, and assessing its role in McClellan's costly victory at Sharpsburg (Antietam): "...the 'lost Dispatch' in General Lee's campaign into Maryland in September 1862, was his order of September 9th directing the movements of his army, especially that for the capture of Harper's Ferry. A copy...fell into the hands of McClellan on the 13th, it having been picked up by some member of his command in one of the abandoned camps....how it was lost has never been known, but is a matter of mere conjecture. In his report, published in 1864, McClellan gives a copy of the order...The effect of the finding of the order was, I presume, to cause McClellan to hasten his movements for the relief of Harper's Ferry, but in this he was not successful... The only effect it had in the battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam, so far as I can judge, was to hasten the conflict of the two armies, and bring on the engagement before McClellan received some re-inforcements - which were coming to his aid. Our army repulsed McClellan's attacks on the 17th, with very heavy loss to his army, and he did not renew the engagement on the 18th, but we retired that night because the Potomac was in our rear...Moreover considerable re-inforcements were coming to McClellan's assistance...I dont think the finding of the order had any [?] effect on the result so far as General Lee's army was concerned."