But for the fog, and tile unexpected and unavoidable delay in building the bridges, which gave the enemy 24 hours to concentrate his forces in his strong position. we should almost certainly have succeeded ; in which case, the battle would have been, in my opinion, far more decisive than it we had crossed at the places first selected. As it was, we came very near success. Failing in accomplishing the mail object, we remained in order of battle two days--long enough to decide that the enemy would not come out of his stronghold to fight me with his infantry — after which, we recrossed to this side of the river unmolested, without the loss of men or property.
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The immense army of the enemy completed its preparations for the attack without interruption, and gave battle in its own time, and on ground of its own selection. It was encountered by less than twenty thousand of this brave army; and its columns, crushed and broken, hurled back at every point, with such fearful slaughter, that escape from entire destruction became the boast of those who had advanced in full confidence of victory.This is so unfair as to be essentially false, and quite unworthy of a great soldier.
2 Dec. 19.
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