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[161] did take place, General Lee was in a position to interpose his army, and inflict a new defeat on the enemy, as was verified by subsequent events.

The following extracts from McClellan's report will give some idea of the results obtained. Speaking, as of the morning of the 18th, he says:

At that moment-Virginia lost, Washington menaced, Maryland invaded — the national cause could afford no risks of defeat. Our battle lost, and almost all would have been lost.

And he subsequently says:

The movement from Washington into Maryland, which culminated in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, was not a part of an offensive campaign, with the object of the invasion of the enemy's territory, and an attack on his capital, but was defensive in its purposes, although offensive in its character, and would be technically called a “ defensive-offensive” campaign.

It was undertaken at a time: when our army had experienced severe defeats, and its object was to preserve the national capital and Baltimore, to protect Pennsylvania, and to drive the enemy out of Maryland. These purposes were fully and finally accomplished by the battle of Antietam, which brought the Army of the Potomac into what might be termed an accidental position on the upper Potomac.1

It was a great deal gained to force the enemy into a “defensive-offensive” campaign in his own territory and place the Army of the Potomac in that accidental position, though we did fail in arousing Maryland, or getting any reinforcements from that State.

1 In a telegram to Halleck, dated September 22nd (Part II, Conduct of the War, p. 495), McClellan said: “When I was assigned to the command of this army in Washington, it was suffering under the disheartening influence of defeat. It had been greatly reduced by casualties in General Pope's campaign, and its efficiency had been much impaired. The sanguinary battles of South Mountain and An- tietam Creek had resulted in a loss to us of ten general officers and many regimental and company officers, besides a large number of enlisted men. The army corps had been badly cut up and scattered by the overwhelming numbers brought against them in the battle of the 17th instant, and the entire army had been greatly exhausted by unavoidable overwork, and want of sleep and rest.” (See also his testimony same volume, pages 439, 440 and 441.)

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