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ement of the trenches and batteries, or in the manner of their execution, worthy of commendation, it is due to the ability, devotion, and unremitting zeal of these officers. By extraordinary and unsparing efforts, they were enabled, few as they were, to accomplish the work of many; and, so far as the success of your operations before this city depended on labors peculiar to their corps, no words of mine can overrate their services. The officers thus engaged are Major John L. Smith, Captains R. E. Lee and John Sanders, First Lieutenants J. L. Mason, P. G. T. Beauregard, and I. I. Stevens, Second Lieutenants Z. B. Tower and G. W. Smith, Brevet Second Lieutenants G. B. McClellan and J. G. Foster. The obligation lies upon me also to speak of the highly meritorious deportment and valuable services of the sappers and miners attached to the expedition. Strenuous as were their exertions, their number proved to be too few, in comparison with our need of such aid. Had their number been f
hich the French call élan, which is so captivating to civilians, and for the want of which so much fault has been found with our officers and soldiers in the present civil war. But the tactics in the Mexican War were founded upon and regulated by an accurate knowledge of the enemy; and the distinguished and veteran soldier who led our armies in that campaign would never have taken the risks he did had the Mexican soldiers been like those in the Southern army, and the Mexican officers men like Lee, Johnston, Jackson, and Beauregard. The public mind judges of military movements and of battles by the event: the plan that fails is a bad plan, and the successful general is the great general. Without doubt, this is a correct judgment in the long run; but in particular cases the rule could not always be applied without injustice. Hannibal was defeated by Scipio at Zama, and Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo; but it does not follow that Scipio was a greater gene
e stores of every description was also abandoned or destroyed. The evacuation is said to have been the result of a council of war at which President Davis and Generals Lee and Johnston were present, and to have been very distasteful to General Magruder, the officer in command, who did not like to retire from his works without a fh. On May 16, we reached White House, a fine building, once the property of Washington, and now of his descendants, the Lee family. The head of this family, General Lee, was one of the chief officers of the Confederate Army; one of his nephews was in the Federal ranks. General McClellan, always careful to insist upon respect fselves for the conflict before them. The whole military resources of the Confederates at that time were under the control of three men, President Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Joseph E. Johnston,--all of them trained soldiers, and one of them also a trained statesman. There was entire confidence and perfect harmony
r the railroad bridge. As it was now certain that the army was not to be strengthened by any reinforcements from McDowell, General McClellan resolved to do the best he could with what he had. He had covered the front of his position with defensive works, to enable him to bring the greatest possible numbers into action, and to secure the army against the consequences of unforeseen disaster. As Jackson had kept McDowell from joining him, he hoped that Jackson might also be kept from joining Lee. The Seven days. On the 25th of June, a forward movement of the picket-line of the left was ordered, preparatory to a general and final advance. The orders were successfully carried out, and about a mile of ground was gained, with small loss. The advantage thus secured was important, as by it both the corps of Heintzelman and Sumner were placed in a better position for supporting the main attack, which it was intended General Franklin should commence the following day. During this d
telegrams I sent him. I telegraphed him that he was going too far, not from Washington, but from the Potomac, leaving General Lee the opportunity to come down the Potomac and get between him and Washington. I thought General McClellan should keep d citizens invited to enlist; but very few recruits were obtained. An address was issued to the people of Maryland by General Lee, but no enthusiastic response was made; and the Confederate leaders were much disappointed at the coldness and indifference with which they were received. On the 10th, General Lee began to evacuate Frederick, and, taking the road to Hagerstown, crossed the Catoctin Mountains, passed through the valley in which Middletown is situated, and drew up his forces alongland invaded — the national cause could afford no risks of defeat. One battle lost, and almost all would have been lost. Lee's army might then have marched as it pleased on Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, or New York. It could have levied it
olicy, this army will, of course, be guided by the same rules of mercy and Christianity that have ever controlled their conduct towards the defenceless. By order of Major-General McClellan. James A. Hardee, Lieut.-Col., Aide-de-Camp, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General. George B. Mcclellan, Major-General commanding. The seeming inactivity of the Army of the Potomac after the battle of Antietam was a disappointment to the public, and an annoyance to the Administration. It was expected that Lee's retreating forces would be instantly and vigorously pursued, and a new path to Richmond opened through his broken columns. The earnest desire of the Administration for a forward movement at length took the form of a positive and peremptory order, which was received on the 7th of October, and is as follows:-- Washington, D. C., October 6, 1862. I am instructed to telegraph you as follows. The President directs that you cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy, or drive h
had marched fifty miles, fought two battles, gained two victories, driven out of Maryland a foe flushed with recent success, given a sense of security to Washington, and raised the spirits of every patriot in the land. Was there any time lost here? Is there any evidence here of want of decision, want of energy, want of promptness? Surely not, but all the reverse. But all this is neutralized and made of no effect because, after the battle of Antietam, he did not cross the Potomac, pursue Lee's retreating army, and utterly destroy it! Nothing but ignorance or prejudice, one or both, could make this delay a ground for disparaging General McClellan's military reputation. Are we to suppose that the man who for fifteen days had been acting with the most extraordinary energy and vigor was suddenly so paralyzed, so smitten with procrastination, that he folded up his hands, went to sleep, and from mere indolence forbore to gather the new laurels which were within reach of his hand if h
G. S. Hillard, Life and Campaigns of George B. McClellan, Major-General , U. S. Army, Appendix. Oration at West Point. (search)
by the great lakes of North America, and it was in them that our ancestors first participated as Americans in the large operations of civilized armies. American regiments then fought on the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Ohio, on the shores of Ontario and Lake George, on the islands of the Caribbean and in South America. Louisburgh, Quebec, Duquesne, the Moro, and Porto Bello, attest the valor of the provincial troops; and in that school were educated such soldiers as Washington, Putnam, Lee, Montgomery, and Gates. These, and men like Greene, Knox, Wayne, and Steuben, were the fathers of our permanent army; and under them our troops acquired that discipline and steadiness which enabled them to meet upon equal terms, and often to defeat, the tried veterans of England. The study of the history of the Revolution, and a perusal of the despatches of Washington, will convince the most skeptical of the value of the permanent army in achieving our independence and establishing the civi