Meade's Boasting — official Dispatch from Gen. Lee.
The following dispatch from Gen. Lee
was received at the War Department Saturday:
--I have seen in Northern papers what purported to be an official dispatch from Gen. Meade
, stating that he had captured a brigade of infantry, two pieces of artillery, two caissons, and a large number of small arms, as this army retired to the South
bank of the Potomac
, on the 13th and 14th insts.
This dispatch has been copied into the Richmond papers, and as its official character may cause it to be believed, I desire to state that it is incorrect.
The enemy did not capture any organized body of men on that occasion, but only stragglers and such as were left asleep on the road, exhausted by the fatigue and exposure of one of the most inclement nights I have ever known at this season of the year.
It rained without cessation, rendering the road by which our troops marched to the bridge at Falling Waters
very difficult to pass, and causing so much delay that the last of the troops did not cross the river at the bridge until 1 P. M. on the 14th.
While the column was thus detained on the road a number of men, worn down with fatigue, lay down in barns and by the roadside, and, though officers were sent back to arouse them, as the troops moved on, the darkness and rain prevented them from finding all, and many were in this way left behind.
Two guns were left in the road.--The horses that drew them became exhausted, and the officers went forward to procure others.
When they returned the rear of the column had passed the guns so far that it was deemed unsafe to send back for them, and they were thus lost.
No arms, cannon, or prisoners were taken by the enemy in battle, but only such as were left behind under the circumstances I have described.--The number of stragglers thus lost I am unable to state with accuracy, but it is greatly exaggerated in the dispatch referred to.
I am, with great respect,
Your obedient servant, R. E. Lee