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I could not, as I have said more early, push on faster, nor could I delay. A large and the best part of my forces were three months volunteers, whose term of service was about to expire, but who were sent forward as having long enough to serve for the purpose of the expedition. On the eve of the battle, the 4th Pennsylvania regiment of volunteers, and the battery of volunteer artillery of the New York 8th militia, whose term of service expired, insisted on their discharge. I wrote to the regiment, expressing a request for them to remain a short time; and the Hon. Secretary of War, who was at the time on the ground, tried to induce the battery to remain at least five days. But in vain. They insisted on their discharge that night. It was granted: and, the next morning, when the army moved forward into battle, these troops moved to the rear to the sound of the enemy's cannon. In the next few days, day by day, I should have lost ten thousand of the best armed, drilled, officered, and disciplined troops in the army. In other words, every day, which added to the strength of the enemy, made us weaker.It should here be added, that a member of the Now York battery aforesaid, who was most earnest and active in opposing Gen. McDowell's request, and insisting on an immediate discharge, was, at the ensuing election, in full view of all the facts, chosen Sheriff of the city of New-York--probably the most lucrative office filled by popular election in the country.
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