Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/274
Southern Historical Society Papers.
able and too honest to be the facile tool of any man or government. He was so high and noble a gentleman that those who ruled this country then could not appreciate him. Unable to understand him or to control him to do that which his convictions forbade, they mistrusted and feared and hated and deposed him.
The clearness with which McClellan divined Lee's movements after the defeat of Pope—the celerity and masterly skill with which he restored discipline and confidence to Pope's routed army, and so moved its corps as to concentrate upon Lee while near half his army was a days' march from the field of battle—must ever rank him high as a general.
It is true he did enjoy the rare privilege of having before him Lee's orders for the movements of his army, which were so explicit that McClellan was enabled to direct the movements of his own with absolute confidence and accuracy.
In summing up the results of the battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg, Mr. Curtis has had but little regard to historic accuracy, and it is surprising that a writer so intelligent and industrious as he should not have availed himself of the abundant authentic documents accessible to all historians of these times.
The official statements of the Confederate and Federal Governments, and of General Lee and General McClellan, all contradict every paragraph of Mr. Curtis' summary, which is to this effect:
1st. "On the 17th, the battle of Antietam ended in the defeat the Confederates."
2d. "On the night of the 18th, the Confederate army recrossed the Potomac into Virginia, leaving 2,700 of their dead unburied on the field."
3d. "Thirteen guns (13), thirty-nine (39) colors, fifteen thousand stands of small arms, and more than 6,000 prisoners, were captured by the Federals in the battles of South mountain, Crampton's gap and Antietam—without losing a gun or a color!"
4th. "The aggregate of the Federal killed, wounded and missing in the battle of Antietam was 12,469."
5th. "The total number of the Federal forces was 87,164."
6th. The enemy had about 10,000 more."
A careful investigation of each of the above paragraphs will convict it of error:1st. How could the battle have ended in the defeat of the Confederates, when Lee's army still held the ground for which it had fought? The field of battle from which McClellan tells us 87,164 men of his army had been driven in a condition so disordered and