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[234] which the sun drew up from the saturated soil, and the heavy toils of the men, began to tell sadly upon the general health of the army. And the vigilant and active enemy allowed us no repose. Little skirmishes and affairs of outposts were constantly occurring; showers of shells would sometimes suddenly fall upon the tents; and no one could say whether these demonstrations were not the preludes to serious attacks. Our men were obliged to work at the intrenchments and upon the bridges as the Jews builded on the walls of Jerusalem: “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.” 1

General McClellan saw with nothing less than anguish of mind the golden moments of opportunity slipping away from him unimproved, and his noble army slowly wasting by disease and exposure. From trustworthy sources of information, he had good reason to believe that the enemy were receiving large accessions to their strength; and in the north, like an ominous cloud, loomed up the corps of the indefatigable Jackson, about which frequent rumors began to fly through the air. General McClellan knew his old classmate well enough to know that he was not a man to lose any time, and that, sooner or later, he would be a formidable element of danger on our right flank. His

1 Nehemiah IV. 17, 18.

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George Brinton McClellan (2)
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