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|I have read the Bowden and Ward book several times. I would highly recommend it.
Their thesis is that Lee gave the order to Ewell to attack Cemetary Hill on the first day of Gettysburg with the ending "if practicable" as a matter of courtesy. The staff officers who transmitted the message, Ewell's subordinate officers and Ewell's troops understood that they were to attack the Hill and said so in their after action reports. Only Ewell interpreted the orders to mean "if I could do so to advantage" as he stated in his report. Even on its face Ewell's argument is weak in that he did not know if he could take the Hill "if he could do so to advantage" unless he tried. The fact is he didn't try until it was too late.