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McClellan and Lee at Sharpsburg.
demoralized that he did not dare to venture them again in action, though all day, up to the 19th, Lee held the field and dared him to try to take it.
2d. Lee crossed the Potomac on the morning of the 19th—not as Mr. Curtis puts it, "the night of the 18th." So great a number of unburied dead as 2,700 is inconsistent with the facts that during the 17th and 18th the Confederate army buried many of its dead, which, added to 2,700, would have swelled our casualties to such a number as would have included nearly all of the men in Lee's army. Northern accounts at the time put the unburied dead at 2,000. The most authentic estimates of all of Lee's casualties on the field of Sharpsburg will not exceed 8,000.
Paragraph number. 3 is utterly refuted by such authority as Mr. Curtis cannot refuse to accept.
Mr. Greeley, of the Tribune, thus growls over the conclusion of those defeats of Lee: "He leaves us the debris of his late camps, two disabled pieces of artillery, a few hundred of his stragglers, perhaps 2,000 of his wounded, and as many of his unburied dead—not a sound field piece, caisson, ambulance or wagon, not a tent, box of stores or pound of ammunition. He takes with him the supplies gathered in Maryland, and the rich spoils of Harper's Ferry!"
To this testimony we will add General Lee's own congratulatory order, which tells the whole story grandly, and stands for all time unquestioned and unquestionable:
Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,
October 2d, 1862.
General Orders No. 116.
In reviewing the achievements of the army during the present campaign, the Commanding-General cannot withhold the expression of his admiration of the indomitable courage it has displayed in battle and its cheerful endurance of privation and hardship on the march.
Since your great victories around Richmond, you have defeated the enemy at Cedar mountain, expelled him from the Rappahannock, and after a conflict of three days utterly repulsed him on the plains of Manassas and forced him to take shelter within the fortification around his capital.Without halting for repose you crossed the Potomac, stormed the heights of Harper's Ferry, made prisoners of more than 11,000 men, and captured upwards of seventy pieces of artillery, all their small arms and other munitions of war.