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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

May 20, 1863

A Secret and a Confession

A Georgia soldier writing home to his wife gave her a “secret,” then gave a brief recounting of the number of men involved in the , and ended with a rare confession - that he preferred the leadership of James Longstreet to that of Stonewall Jackson.

“…I whisper in your ear a secret, which came to my ears through a relative whose position in the army brings such matters to his knowledge long before they are generally known. Gen. Stuart is organizing the most powerful cavalry force that has been assembled during the War. … It is in contemplation to use this force in the next battle when the army shall advance, and then to ‘turn it loose’ upon Yankee-dom. … In the late battles on the Rappahannock, Gen. Lee used 57,000 men of all arms; Gen. Hooker fought 80,000 men. … Our Division at the battle as the enemy’s forces were dispersed would have insured his rout, instead of only defeat. Gen. Ewell takes ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s command - by the latter’s dying request, it is said. … For my own part, I have always preferred Gen. Longstreet to Gen. Jackson for any command. Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel’s Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel’s Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), p. 161.