towards him. lie had now twelve thousand sick and wounded to transport, besides cavalry, artillery, wagons, baggage, and supplies.
lie was working day and night to speed their removal; he was in a situation that demanded kind consideration, for he was the leader of an enterprise which had failed, whose hopes had been crossed, whose plans for the future had been arrested, who was obeying faithfully orders which he deemed unwise; and surely he did not need at such a moment the further discipline of a despatch like this, under date of August 9 :--“Considering the amount of transportation at your disposal, your delay is not satisfactory: you must move with all possible celerity.”
The plain statements in General McClellan
's Report, and the letters of the Quartermaster
and Assistant Quartermaster
, which are also to be found there, are sufficient to vindicate him completely from the charge of negligence or delay in transporting his materials and men. Indeed, in an issue like that between him and the commander-in-chief
the testimony of General McClellan
must be held to be decisive.
Here was a certain work to be done, the removal of a certain number of persons, sick and well, and a certain amount of stores, supplies, and warlike materials from one point to another.
The time within which the task could be accomplished depended upon several elements which were wholly matters of fact,--such as the number of vessels, their capacity, their speed, the state of the water in the river, and the wharf-accommodations at the points of departure and arrival,--upon