near Edwards's Ferry, and advanced to Frederick
; himself visiting by the way Harper's Ferry
He found there — or rather, on Maryland Heights
, with 11,000 men, whom he, very naturally, desired to add to his army in the momentous battle now impending.
For his army, after being strengthened by 15,000 men spared him from the defenses of Washington, and 2,100 by Gen. Schenck
from the Middle Department, was barely 100,000 strong; while Lee
's, carefully counted by two Union men independently, as it marched through Hagerstown
, numbered 91,000 infantry, with 280 guns, and 6,000 cavalry; while not less than 5,000 of its cavalry, under Stuart
, crossed the Potomac
below Edwards's Ferry, and so advanced into Pennsylvania
without passing through Hagerstown
Considering that the Rebels
had mustered the best as well as the largest army they ever sent into the contest, and that its triumph on a Northern field would almost certainly incite a Northern uprising in their favor, it was imperative that they should now be met by the heroic but luckless Army of the Potomac in such force as to place the issue beyond contingency.
It was a high crime to withhold even a brigade, when a brigade more or less might decide the fate of a continent.
had already drawn from the garrison at Washington
all that Halleck
would spare — leaving but 11,000 effectives under Heintzelman
; which was noe too much.
But, having crossed the Potomac
, he had very properly inquired by telegraph of Halleck
, “Is there any reason why Maryland Heights
should not be abandoned, after the public stores and property are removed?”
and been answered:2
Maryland Heights have always been regarded as an important point to be held by us, and much expense and labor incurred in fortifying them.
I can not approve of their abandonment, except in case of absolute necessity.
Surely, the translator of Jomini
can find no parallel for such strategy in the whole military career of the great Napoleon
Hooker at once rejoined:
In regard to this grave matter of difference, Hooker
was clearly in the right: not
clearly so in sending this dispatch immediately afterward:
had never regarded Hooker
as the proper commander of this army; had prevented his selection as McClellan
's immediate successor;