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[142] that McClellan (who did not have his own way as we have) managed with admirable skill. Mind, I don't say he was perfect. I say he was our best. Think how well we are off. Do we want the very garrison of Washington? Grant beckons, and nobody is hardy enough to say him nay. McClellan had over 20,000 men taken from him at the very crisis of the campaign. Suppose at the culmination of our work, a telegraph from the President should come: “Send General Wright and 25,000 men at once to Winchester.” How would that do? In all this I praise the present commanders. The handling of this army, in especial, has been a marvel. Through narrow roads (the best of them not better than the “lane” opposite our back avenue), ill known and intricate, over bogs and rivers, we have transported cannon and army waggons in thousands, and a vast army has been moved, without ever getting in confusion, or losing its supporting distance. I don't believe there is a marshal of France that could do it with his army. I am sure there is not.

[It was known that the order had been given to attack next morning. Rhodes says:1 “Officers and men had a chance to chew upon it, and both knew that the undertaking was hopeless. Horace Porter, an aide-de-camp of Grant, relates that, when walking among the troops on Staff duty, the evening before the battle, he noticed many of the soldiers of one of the regiments designated for the assault pinning on the backs of their coats slips of paper on which were written their names and home addresses, so that their dead bodies might be recognized on the field, and their fate be known to their families at the North.” ]

1 History, IV, 446.

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