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To my surprise and disappointment, the effective strength was stated to be but little greater than when it fought the battle of the 21st of the preceding July. The frequent reinforcements which had been sent to that army in nowise prepared me for such an announcement. To my inquiry as to what force would be required for the contemplated advance into Maryland, the lowest estimate made by any of them was about twice the number there present for duty. How little I was prepared for such a condition of things will be realized from the fact that previous suggestions by the generals in regard to a purpose to advance into Maryland had induced me, when I went to that conference, to take with me some drawings made by the veteran soldier and engineer, Colonel Crozet, of the falls of the Potomac, to show the feasibility of crossing the river at that point. Very little knowledge of the condition and military resources of the country must have sufficed to show that I had no power to make the demanded addition to that army without a total disregard of the safety of other threatened positions. It only remained for me to answer that I had not power to furnish such a number of troops; and unless the militia bearing their private arms should be relied on, we could not possibly fulfil such a requisition until after the receipt of the small arms, which we had early and constantly striven to procure from abroad, and had for some time expected.

Whatever other object there may have been for intensifying the dangers of inaction, it surely could not by these conferees have been thought necessary to impress that danger specially on me, and to put their thoughts on record for after times in such connection as to give them that special application.

My correspondence of anterior dates might have shown that I was fully aware of it, and my suggestions in the interval, certainly did not look as if it was necessary to impress m e with the advantage of the action.

In one part of the paper it stated that the reinforcements asked for were to be ‘seasoned soldiers,’ such as were there present, and who were said to be in the ‘finest fighting condition.’ This, if such a proposition had been made, would have exposed its absurdity, as well as the loop-hole it opened for escape, by subsequently asserting that the troops furnished were

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Maryland (Maryland, United States) (2)
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