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 reached Turkey Bend with considerable difficulty, the excitement was all the greater, because the people had been kept in ignorance of its dangers, and had anticipated a very different issue. McClellan's enemies, instead of rendering justice to the manner in which he had conceived and executed this strategic movement, censured him for it as being nothing but a rout, and sought to turn it into ridicule. It would be perhaps going too far to interpret this announcement of an impending victory, made by the Federal government at the very time when McClellan was informing them of the difficulties of his position, as a perfidious scheme, designed to excite public opinion against the commander of the army of the Potomac; it is certain, however, that the government sought to conceal the facts which made the chief responsibility for the defeat fall upon itself. It persistently refused to give the text of McClellan's despatches to the newspapers; and, what is worse, when the whole series of official documents was laid before the committee on the conduct of the war, the government permitted itself to mutilate the text of its correspondence with the general, without making any mention whatever of the omissions.1 On the other bank of the Chickahominy, as soon as the sun of the 28th began to shine over the battle-field so painfully conquered the day before, Lee and his lieutenants bethought themselves of gathering the fruits of their recent victory. Their army had suffered cruelly. It required time to reorganize the corps, to collect together their elements, which had been scattered during the conflict, to attend for the first time to the ten thousand or eleven thousand wounded who were lying on the heights of Gaines' Mill, and finally to see to the distribution of rations and ammunition. Nevertheless, the Confederate army, still full of ardor, despite the heavy losses it had sustained, was able to put part of its battalions in motion by midday. Moments were precious, for it was important
1 Thus the despatch of which we have spoken above, addressed to Mr. Stanton on the 28th of June, twenty minutes after midnight, closed with these words: ‘If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or to any other person in Washington. You have done your best to sacrifice this army.’ This phrase was suppressed at the War Department, as any one may ascertain by comparing two official documents, McClellan's Report, p. 132, and that of the committee, first part, first volume, p. 340.
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