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[246] reserved for his troops as the humblest of his soldiers. It even appeared as if General Halleck had made it a duty to cause him to feel the inferiority of his new position, by addressing to him the most severe reproaches whenever the letter of his orders, frequently impossible to execute, was not carried out. An instance of this kind will show how far this hostile feeling was prejudicial to the welfare of the service. This occurred at the time when the army of the Potomac was about to begin its retreat. It was of the utmost importance that it should reach Aquia Creek in time to support Pope against Lee's demonstrations. Halleck was urging haste, but there was a want of ships for its transportation. The telegraph did not extend as far as Harrison's Landing, and the public service consequently suffered on account of this interruption. McClellan, wishing to regulate and expedite the embarkation of his troops, came down the river James one day, and went into the telegraph office at the extremity of the line for the purpose of putting himself in direct communication with Halleck. On receiving this summons, the latter merely stepped into the Washington office to write a despatch of four lines, and went out immediately, without waiting for an answer, leaving the clerk to communicate his abrupt departure to McClellan, who returned to his headquarters without having been able to procure the telegraphic audience to obtain which he had travelled one hundred and fifty miles.

The soldiers were beginning to feel even more impatient than their commander. The army of the Potomac, recovered from its fatigues, numbered about ninety thousand men in marching condition. Its presence alone on the borders of the James doomed Lee's troops to inactivity, for with such a neighbor the latter could not think of uncovering his capital to go and crush Pope on the Rapidan. This army, however, could not be allowed to remain any longer stationary on the unhealthy banks of the great Virginia river. It was indispensable either to withdraw it or to give it the means to move forward. On the 25th of July, Halleck went at last to discuss this question with McClellan. The latter, with a sagacity which was to receive a striking vindication at a later period, pointed out to Halleck on the map the position

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