annexed, recite what time and space would fail me to mention here,--those individual instances of conspicuous bravery and skill by which every battle was marked. To them I must especially refer; for without them this narrative would be incomplete, and justice fail to be done. But I cannot omit to tender to my corps commanders, and to the general officers under them, such ample recognition of their cordial co-operation and their devoted services as those reports abundantly avouch. I have not sought to defend the army which I had the honor to command, nor myself, against the hostile criticisms once so rife. It has seemed to me that nothing more was required than such a plain and truthful narrative to enable those whose right it is to form a correct judgment on the important matters involved. This Report is, in fact, a history of the Army of the Potomac. During the period occupied in the organization of that army, it served as a barrier against the advance of a lately victorious enemy while the fortification of the capital was in progress; and, under the discipline which it then received, it acquired strength, education, and some of that experience which is necessary to success in active operations, and which enabled it afterwards to sustain itself under circumstances trying to the most heroic men. Frequent skirmishes occurred along the lines, conducted with great gallantry, which inured our troops to the realities of war. The army grew into shape but slowly; and the delays which attended on the obtaining of arms, continuing late into the winter of 1861-62, were no less trying to the soldiers than to the people of the country. Even at the time of the organization of the Peninsular campaign, some of the finest regiments were without rifles; nor were the utmost exertions on the part of the military
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