Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/276

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264
Southern Historical Society Papers.

While one corps of the army was thus engaged, the other insured its success by arresting at Boonsboro' the combined armies of the enemy advancing under their favorite General to the relief of their beleagured comrades.

On the field of Sharpsburg, with less than one-third his numbers, you resisted from daylight until dark the whole army of the enemy, and repulsed every attack along his entire front of more than four miles in extent.

The whole of the following day you stood prepared to resume the conflict on the same ground, and retired next morning without molestation across the Potomac.

Two attempts subsequently made by the enemy to follow you across the river have resulted in his complete discomfiture and being driven back with loss.

Achievements such as these demanded much valor and patriotism. History records few examples of greater fortitude and endurance than this army has exhibited; and I am commissioned by the President to thank you in the name of the Confederate States for the undying fame you have won for their arms. Much as you have done, much more remains to be accomplished. The enemy again threatens us with invasion, and to your tried valor and patriotism the country looks with confidence for deliverance and safety.

Your past exploits give assurance that this confidence is not misplaced.

R. E. Lee, General-Commanding.

Paragraph 4 is correct as far as it goes; but General McClellan tells us he lost in killed, wounded and missing in the battles of South mountain, Crampton's gap and Antietam near 15,000 men.

Paragraph 5 mistakes the total number of troops engaged by McClellan for the total strength of his army present with him.

McClellan states that he had 87,164 men actually in battle at Antietam—and we know he had one corps which did not fire a shot.

Paragraph 6 is very wide of the mark indeed, and we will sum up from the best evidence attainable the whole forces of Lee's army engaged on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of September, 1862, and we challenge Mr. Curtis to disprove the accuracy of this statement:

On the 14th, D. H. Hill, with less than 10,000 men, held McClelland's army in check all day.

On the 15th, Stonewall Jackson, with 9,793 Confederates, captured over 11,000 Federals, more than 70 cannon, several thousand horses, and all of their small arms, colors and equipments!

On the 15th, Lee took position at Sharpsburg, with 17,460 in--