This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 possession through the occupation of Maryland Heights. As a tete de pont this point possessed but little importance at this time of the year, for the Potomac was then fordable in many places; and if the waters of the river had risen so as to render the fords impassable, there was cause to fear that the same freshet might carry off the frail bridge of boats that McClellan had just thrown over the river at Harper's Ferry. In order that this little town might serve as the base of an offensive campaign in the valley of Virginia, it would have been necessary to rebuild the railroad bridge, which would have enabled the supply-trains to proceed directly from Washington to Winchester. Such work, however, would have consumed much time. The army of the Potomac, therefore, took up its quarters on the left bank of the river from Williamsport to the mouth of the Monocacy, watching the passes through which an offensive return of the enemy might be apprehended, and McClellan devoted himself exclusively to its reorganization. But his inaction during the most favorable season for campaign purposes soon stirred up the impatient public, and reminded them of his temporizing policy at Washington in 1861, and in the beginning of the following year before Yorktown and on the Chickahominy. This impatience was fully shared by the Federal government. The difficult relations which had always existed between General McClellan and the Secretary of War had been aggravated by Halleck's appointment to the post of commander-in-chief of the armies. These two functionaries had set themselves earnestly to work to provide the army of the Potomac with all that it needed for beginning the campaign. But every request for reinforcements or supplies, addressed to Halleck by McClellan, was the occasion of complaints and mutual reproaches, which could not but prove detrimental to the welfare of the service. When this controversy is impartially examined, containing, as it does, the most contradictory assertions concerning matters of fact, one is naturally astonished that for more than a month General Halleck did not think of taking the cars, which would have brought him to Harper's Ferry in five hours, to ascertain for himself the extent of the wants of the army of the Potomac and the validity of the complaints of its commander. Honest Mr. Lincoln could not
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.