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[303] 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 its supplies from a fertile and undevastated country, extorted tribute from wealthy and populous cities, and nowhere east of the Alleghanies was there another organized force able to arrest its march.

He then proceeds to set forth some of the considerations which led him to doubt the certainty of success in attacking before the 19th.

The troops were greatly overcome by the exhaustion of the recent battles, and the long day and night marches of the previous three days.

The supply-trains were in the rear, and many of the troops had suffered from hunger. They required rest and refreshment.

One division of Sumner's and all of Hooker's corps, on the right, after fighting valiantly for many hours, had been driven back in disorder, and were somewhat demoralized.

Our losses had been very heavy.

Many of our heaviest batteries had consumed all their ammunition, and they could not be supplied till late on the 18th.

Large reinforcements which were immediately expected had not arrived.

Supplies of forage had to be brought up and issued, and infantry-ammunition distributed.

The 18th was, therefore, spent in collecting the dispersed, giving rest to the fatigued, burying the dead, and the necessary preparations for a renewal

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