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[415] Federal Capital. Had Sheridan, by a prompt movement, thrown his whole force on the line of my communications, I would have been compelled to attempt to cut my way through, as there was no escape for me to the right or left, and my force was too weak to cross the Potomac while he was in my rear. I knew my danger, but I could occupy no other position that would have enabled me to accomplish the desired object.

If I had moved up the Valley at all, I could not have stopped short of New Market, for between that place and the country, in which I was, there was no forage for my horses; and this would have enabled the enemy to resume the use of the railroad and canal, and return all the troops from Grant's army to him. Being compelled to occupy the position where I was, and being aware of its danger as well as apprised of the fact that very great odds were opposed to me, my only resource was to use my forces so as to display them at different points with great rapidity, and thereby keep up the impression that they were much larger than they really were. The events of the last month had satisfied me that the commander opposed to me was without enterprise, and possessed an excessive caution which amounted to timidity. If it was his policy to produce the impression that his force was too weak to fight me, he did not succeed, but if it was to convince me that he was not an energetic commander, his strategy was a complete success, and subsequent events have not changed my opinion.

My infantry force at this time consisted of the three divisions of the 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, and Wharton's division of Breckenridge's command. The 2nd corps numbered a little over 8,000 muskets when it was detached in pursuit of Hunter, and it had now been reduced to about 7,000 muskets, by long and rapid marches, and the various encampments and skirmishes in which it had participated. Wharton's division had been reduced to about 1,700 muskets by the same causes. Making a small allowance for details and

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G. C. Wharton (2)
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