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South Mountain was heralded abroad by our antagonists as a great victory. Favors of that sort had been few and far between, and this seemed to call for special gratulation and congratulation. Mr. Lincoln telegraphed the next day to General McClellan: ‘God bless you and all with you. Destroy the Rebel army, if possible.’ This is a model dispatch, and is a beautiful illustration of the meaning of St. James in the tenth verse of the third chapter of his epistle, which you can read when you go home.

But Sharpsburg affords, as I think, the best illustration of the pluck, dash and stubborn fighting of the privates in the ranks. Lee's army was never so small. It had fought McClellan from Richmond to Harrison's Landing on James River. It had fought Pope from the Rappahannock to the Potomac. It had given a new experience to this young warrior, who, like Lockinvar had come gaily out of the West and had only seen the backs of his enemies, and had there learned to scorn all thoughts of lines of retreat. I suspect that the young man did not personally gain any more knowledge in the East than he had done in the West about the faces of his foes, but the people he had about him did see those faces, and before he vanished amid the storm he left behind him this military maxim ‘for a line of retreat, the short cut is the safe cut.’

The campaigns against McClellan and Pope had greatly reduced Lee's army. The order issued on crossing the Potomac excusing all barefooted men from marching had reduced it still more. So, at Sharpsburg, General Lee had only the hardiest, strongest and bravest of his Rebel boys, The straggling had been enormous. The chaff had been blown off and only the sound, solid wheat had been left.

General McClellan estimates Lee's army at Sharpsburg at 97,445. These numbers, he says, he got from General Banks, who had them from ‘prisoners, deserters and spies.’ The precision of this calculation strikes me as most admirable, 97,445, no more, no less. It was not a guess. Oh, no! General Lee's guess of the strength of his own army would have fallen short of this by more than 60,000. No, it was not a guess. It was obtained from ‘prisoners, deserters and spies.’ These generally count in round numbers, but on this occasion were minutely accurate. Why not 97,000 dry so? Why not 97,400? Why not 97,440? Who figured out the last five? I surmise that ‘the intelligent contraband’ is responsible for this astonishing precision. The added five helped to swell up ‘the overwhelming numbers.’ It could not, would not, should not be omitted.

General McClellan puts his own forces at 87,164. He, too, must

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