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„ssailed Turner's Gap, which was Fair Oaks and Seven Pines one abandoned by the Confederates in wing of the Federals was assailed the night. It is believed,” says unexpectedly, and the commanders McClellan,“ that the force opposed of corps had to make good their to us at Turner's Gap consisted of ground as best they could. At D. H. Hill's corps, and a part, if Williamsburg it was Sumner who not the whole, of Longstreet's, and commanded, and at Hanover, Porperhaps a portion of Jackson's; ter. At Gaines' Mill, again, it was probably some 30,000 in all. We General Porter who made the acwent into action with about 30,000 tual tactical dispositions on the men, and our losses amounted to field. But when the Federal ad1568, aggregate.” This uncandid vance came upon Lee's line of battle method of computing the enemy's at Antietam, it was, McClellan says, force, and so making it appear equal too late to attack that day, and he to his own, as well as his glorifica- proceeded, after examination of the tion over the fancied victory, are the position, to employ the remainder of less excusable, as McClellan must the 15th in making deliberate dishave known that these detachments positions for the engagement. were placed in the gaps only to hold Some months ago, in reviewing them till the main columns had books the American war, we concentrated, and that, this object commented on the excellent work effected, the sooner they retired of Captain Chesney on the cam the better.
paigns in Virginia and Maryland. The mountain-ridge being passed, The reader will find, on consulting the Federal columns swung round it, that it records facts, carefully on their left towards the river; and, and dispassionately adduced, which nearing it, found Lee's
drawn are in many important respects at up to bar the way. The Confeder- variance with the report of McClelate leader had no doubt calculated lan. We find, for instance, that the on holding, at pleasure, undisturbed troops which opposed him at South possession of the country north of Mountain (the division of D. Hill) the Potomac, thinking the Federal were 10,000 in number, instead of army too severely shaken by defeat 30,000, as the Federal commander to resume the offensive. But when estimates their force. It will be McClellan moved against him, he found, too, that the force with which had hastened to withdraw his col- Lee barred the way at the Antieumns towards Virginia, behind the tam consisted only of a part of detachments posted to hold the gaps Longstreet's corps. The whole of of the ridge.
The concentration Jackson's force, 24,000, had been being effected between the enemy employed in the attack on Harper's and the Potomac, Lee might have Ferry, the relief of which post had continued his retreat without a been one special object of McClelbattle. But to have retired in face lan's advance. Now, the post surof the enemy without a passage of rendered at 8 in the morning of the arms, would have been inconsistent 16th, and McClellan knew it from with the character of a commander the cessation of the firing. He must always more ready to fight than to also have known that Jackson's evade an action. Taking post be- force was thus set free to join Lee. hind the Antietam Creek, he await- Had he, therefore, attacked at once ed the onset, while he saw the long on the evening of the 15th, when trains of his spoils pass the river he had five corps at hand, he might behind him.
have brought above 70,000 men This battle of Antietam may be against about a third of their numconsidered the test of McClellan's bers. But, imposed on by Lee's fighting qualities. It is the only attitude, he contented himself with great action in which he directed reconnoitring him that evening. all the main operations. For at
The Antietam and Potomac both
such disparity in his favour as ex- good reason why he should postpone isted in the opposing forces, ought the attack, was also an excellent not to have controlled his decision. reason why Lee should not await
It was so late on the 16th when it. And when it is added that two McClellan began his attack that fresh divisions joined McClellan on Hooker's corps only was engaged. the morning of the 18th, while It crossed by fords unopposed, at- Porter's corps (in the centre) was tacked Longstreet's left, and at the still almost untouched, there is close of some sharp, indecisive fight- sufficient to account for Lee's reing, encamped close to it for the treat without attributing it to any night. Jackson, arriving at mid- success gained by McClellan in the night, took post opposite Hooker. action. He was preparing to reNext day the general engagement engage on the morning of the 19th, began. All day the four corps in when he found that Lee had, during succession were hurled against the the night, withdrawn his whole left of Lee, which, at the close of force safely beyond the Potomac; the battle, had fallen back about a and a strong detachment sent across mile, after varying fortunes, and to ascertain whether he was still in heavy loss on both sides. Burnside, force in the neighbourhood of the after failing in two attempts, had river received convincing, if not also crossed on Lee's right, gained a satisfactory, proof of the fact in a footing on the crest, and was then severe disaster. driven back upon the bridge, re- Accepting, then, the battle of maining on the right bank. Lee Antietam as a fair criterion of still held Sharpsburg in the centre. McClellan's fighting quality, we
On the morning of the 18th, the cannot estimate it very highly. armies faced each other, but the Sagacious and sound in combining battle was not renewed. McClel- the movements of a campaign, he lan's troops were not in a condition would always be apt to forfeit any to attack. Hooker's corps and part advantages which his plan had of Sumner's on the left were de- gained by irresolution in striking moralised, and Burnside's was so
the blows which his previous operashaky that, after demanding sup- tions could only have placed him port, he retired, though unassailed, in a good position to deliver. It is to the left bank. McClellan had not that we think him deficient in lost by his own account more than determination_his conduct of the 12,000 men; but he omits to count seven days' retreat, when, fiercely among them about 6000 of Hooker's pressed by an undoubtedly stronger men who abandoned the field, and foe, he kept throughout a firm did not rejoin their colours till the countenance, and
so little 22d.
damaged that at the first pause he Such, then, were the results ac- was ready to resume with spirit his complished by the deliberately ar- advance, proves that disaster and ranged attack of 87,000 men on, at peril cannot daunt him. But his the most, 70,000. They had caused resolution has only been exhibited one wing of the opposing line to in circumstances where there was recede a short distance, at the ex- no alternative, and where to give pense, per contra, of a loss of about way was to be destroyed. It does 20,000 men, and the demoralisation not appear to be of that kind which of part of the army. Nevertheless, induces great generals to disregard as the Confederates ultimately re- present risk for the sake of adetired, McClellan claims a signal vic- quate future advantage, and which tory. But he tells us, in excusing alone can achieve brilliant strokes himself for not renewing the battle in war. He is eminently a prudent on the 18th, that he expected large and safe general; and it would be reinforcements from Pennsylvania. difficult probably to inflict upon This, which might of itself be a him any disaster which foresight
15,000, formed s corps, and ap
the side of the
this manner of
sele defect of his mind, and in setting was safe to vent it. Three days Tesislerine i aside his own estimates when they after Antietam, when it was certain
tell in his favour, especially as we that Lee had re-crossed the Poto
find that on one occasion, soon mac, Halleck telegraphs thus, “We " 4 starts after the commencement of the Pen- are still left entirely in the dark in ray ban insular campaign, the President regard to your own movements and
points out a discrepancy, in his those of the enemy. This should *statement of his own numbers, of not be so.
You should keep me no less than 23,000, which is not advised of both, so far as you know cleared up in the Report.
them.” Whereupon McClellan, no However, whatever faults McClel- doubt invigorated by success, be
lan might have committed, one fact comes actually resentful. DIETs was evident, that he alone had saved telegram of to-day,” he replied, “is Bo the Government and the capital, received. I telegraphed you yesperhaps the whole cause of the terday all I knew.
I regret Union. Of all the Generals who that you find it necessary to couch crowded into Washington in the every despatch I have the honour last calamitous days of August, to receive from you in a spirit of amidst the wrecks of the corps that fault-finding, and that you have
had felt the weight of Lee's and not yet found leisure to say one 02 Jackson's blows, there was not word in commendation of the re
another under whom the army cent achievements of this army, or would have consented to take the eyen to allude to them." field, or probably, if it had, who But the demeanour of these offi. could have reduced the chaos to cials was only significant of their order before it was too late. Ac- designs. McClellan, successful and cepting without a murmur the task applauded, was becoming far too of redeeming the failures of his late dangerous a personage to be counrival Pope, he had rapidly brought tenanced, or even tolerated much an army, respectable for discipline longer. His dismissal was doubtas well as numbers, into the field, less resolved on at once, but as a restored its confidence in itself, led necessary preliminary he must be it straight upon the enemy, and shorn of his popularity. If he could regained for the Federal Govern- be made to appear dilatory and inment the control of all the territory capable, the people would soon fornorth of the Potomac. Whereas, get his services, and the best way þut for him, history would have to exhibit him in this light was to had a very different picture to deprive him of the power of acting. paint-the Federal army broken, Accordingly his army was kept in dispirited, and uncontrollable, per- all respects on a starvation allowhaps mutinous—its chiefs divided ance--regiments were allowed to in council—the Government either remain mere skeletons, the cavalry shut
in Washington or fugitives and artillery were not re-mounted, -the Confederates unopposed mas- the transport service was below the ters of the country up to the Sus- needs of the army, the men were quehanna—with all the dissensions kept half-clothed and shoeless, the and anarchy that such calamities accumulation of supplies was insufvould entais on the North. And, ficient to maintain the troops during n the first revulsion after his late an advance--and all the time the Farms, the grateful President thus Secretary for War and General-inElegraphed to McClellan, “ Your Chief were urging the unfortunate espatch of to-day” (about South commander of this force, which they ountain) “received. God bless were studiously rendering helpless, u, and all with you. Destroy to advance and fight. Even if fully rebel army if possible.” But equipped and supplied, the troops jealous dislike of Halleck and could not have been trusted in an nton was only restrained till it offensive movement against Lee,