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[140] from a successful attack, but does not necessarily convey with it any censure. I could not view the use of the latter expression in any other light than as intending to convey an expression of opinion on the part of the President, that I had failed to do what I might and should have done. Now let me say in the frankness which characterizes your letter, that perhaps the President was right. If such was the case, it was my duty to give him an opportunity to replace me by one better fitted for the command of the army. It was, I assure you, with such feelings that I applied to be relieved. It was, not from any personal considerations, for I have tried in this whole war to forget all personal considerations, and I have always maintained they should not for an instant influence any one's action. Of course you will understand that I do not agree that the President was right—and I feel sure when the true state of the case comes to be known, however natural and great may be the feeling of disappointment, that no blame will be attached to any one. Had I attacked Lee the day I proposed to do so, and in the ignorance that then existed of his position, I have every reason to believe the attack would have been unsuccessful and would have resulted disastrously. This opinion is founded on the judgment of numerous distinguished officers, after inspecting Lee's vacated works and position. Among these officers I could name Generals Sedgwick, Wright, Slocum, Hays, Sykes, and others.

The idea that Lee had abandoned his lines early in the day that he withdrew, I have positive intelligence is not correct, and that not a man was withdrawn until after dark. I mention these facts to remove the impression which newspaper correspondents have given the public: that it was only necessary to advance to secure an easy victory. I had great responsibility thrown on me: on one side were the known and important fruits of victory, and on the other, the equally important and terrible consequences of defeat. I considered my position at Williamsport very different from that at Gettysburg. When I left Frederick it was with the firm determination to attack and fight Lee without regard to time or place as soon as I could come in contact with him. But, after defeating him and requiring him to abandon his schemes of invasion, I did not think myself justified in making a blind attack, simply to prevent his escape, and running all the risks attending such a venture. Now, as I said before, in this perhaps I erred in judgment, for I take this occasion to say to you, and through you to the President—that I have no pretensions to any


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