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[357] Clellan from achieving a more complete victory, and taking advantage of this opportunity to strike an irreparable blow at Lee. The first is to be found in the moral condition of his troops. The army which had been entrusted to him was partly composed of the vanquished soldiers of Manassas, and the remainder consisted of soldiers who had only been one or two weeks in the service, who had never marched, never been under fire, and knew neither their commanders nor their comrades. They fought with great bravery, but could not be expected to perform what Lee easily obtained from his men. Their ranks had not that cohesion which enables a commander to follow up a first success without interruption. The Union generals may be censured for having divided their efforts on the right in successive attacks, and thereby impaired their effectiveness. The corps of Hooker, Mansfield and Sumner, in all from forty to forty-four thousand men, instead of being brought into action one after the other, for the space of four hours, might have been united, so as together to strike the Confederate left, which they would no doubt have crushed. Mc-Clellan and several of his lieutenants, as we have said, had also overrated the number of their adversaries—an error which had the effect of keeping back Franklin and Porter, whose co-operation at the close of the battle would have been decisive. Finally, Burnside by his long inaction upset all McClellan's plans, enabled Lee to mass all his forces on his left, and thus deprived the Federals of the principal advantages which a more energetic action on his part would certainly have secured.1

The sun of September 18th rose to light up one of those scenes of suffering and anguish which humble the pride of man by the exhibition of his weakness and cruelty. Twenty thousand men, killed or wounded the day before, were lying on that narrow battle-field. Their comrades were exhausted by the struggle, by fatigue and by the want of both sleep and food. McClellan had, indeed, thought of resuming the offensive that very day, of making new and greater sacrifices, perhaps, in order to complete the victory so dearly bought the preceding day. Many generals, Franklin among the rest, urged this. Others, like Sumner, tried to dissuade him from so rash a purpose. Such an attack afforded

1 See Appendix to this volume, Note E.

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