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Memorandum for General Fortier1
July 10, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
I think it would be interesting to General Giraud if on the way to Leesburg tomorrow you gave him from time to time, some description of the Civil War episodes that are related to the route.
For example, as he starts out the Lee Boulevard in rear of Fort Myer, you can refer to that as the perimeter of the defenses of Washington during the Civil War, and to the fact that the Confederates at one time occupied the bluff, at Lee’s Mansion, in Arlington Cemetery looking down on the city.
As you reach the little settlement of Drainsville you will see a metal sign referring to the cavalry action at that place. This was Jeb Stuart’s outfit, and while it occurred early in the war, the losses were very heavy for a cavalry combat.
Probably the most interesting point on the route is the dirt road leading to the north, your right, where Stuart’s Cavalry turned off to proceed to a crossing of the Potomac about three miles beyond, into Maryland, and lost themselves completely from Lee on his invasion of Pennsylvania, which ended calamitously at Gettysburg. It is possible that Stuart’s decision at this point had a decisive effect on the Confederacy, because it would appear likely that had Lee had full information of the Union movements he would have employed his large force, about 70,000, with its high morale, to advantage as to the point of contact and the character of the battle. Do not imply to General Giraud that I am condemning Stuart, but rather that here was the point where a decision of the moment had a very tragic result on the operations of an army.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Brigadier General Louis J. Fortier, a graduate of the French