No troops could have displayed greater fortitude or better performed the arduous marches of the past ten days.
Their conduct in other respects has, with few exceptions, been in keeping with their character as soldiers, and entitles them to approbation and praise.
There have, however, been instances of forgetfulness, on the part of some, that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of the army, and that the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than in our own.
The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it our whole people, than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and defenseless and the wanton destruction of private property, that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country.
Such proceedings not only degrade the perpetrators and all connected with them, but are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of the army, and destructive of the ends of our present movement.
It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain.
The commanding general therefore earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain with most scrupulous care from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property, and he enjoins upon all officers to arrest and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against the orders on this subject.
R. E. LEE,
[JUNE 28, 1863. -For Mr. Davis to General Lee, in relation a the disposition of the Confederate forces on the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, see Part I, p. 76.]
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Chambersburg, June 28, 1863-7. 30 a. m.
Lieutenant General R. S. EWELL,
GENERAL: I wrote you last night, stating that General Hooker was reported to have crossed the Potomac, and is advancing by way of Middletown, the head of his column being at that point in Frederick County. I directed you in that letter to move your forces to this point. If you have not already progressed on the road, and if you have no good reason against it, I desire you to move in the direction or Gettysburg, via Heidlersburg, where you will have turnpike most of the way, and you can thus join your other divisions to Early`s, which is east of the mountains. I think it preferable to keep on the east side of the mountains. When you come to Heidlersburg, you can either move directly on Gettysburg or turn down to Cashtown. Your trains and heavy artillery you can send, if you think proper,