State of Maryland
Annapolis Apl 15th, 1874.
Maj. Genl Fitzhugh Lee
My Dear Sir
I am in receipt to-day of your letter of the 14th inst., with the interesting enclosure in reference to the Battle of Gettysburg.
I have not had time to follow closely the controversy to which the article refers, but I remember perfectly my conversation with General Lee on this subject.
He said plainly to me, that the battle would have been gained, if Gen. Longstreet had obeyed the orders given him, and had made the attack early instead of late. He said further – “Gen. Longstreet when once in a fight, was a most brilliant soldier, but he was the hardest man to move that I had in my army.”
I mention this, as you have made the inquiry of me, but pray do not let it appear; for the conversation was a chance one, & perhaps never intended to be repeated.
Thanking you for your kind expressions in my behalf.
Believe me, my dear general
Very truly yours
John Lee Carroll
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 8, M2009.409
Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 July 18