CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 13, 1863.
[General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN:]
GENERAL: I read with great surprise recently that portion of your report upon the battle of Antietam, in which, when giving your reasons for not renewing the battle on the morning of the 18th and referring to the time of arrival of re-enforcements, you state-
and Humphreys' division of new troops, fatigued with forced marches, were arriving throughout the day, but were not available until near its close.*
This statement does me and my command great injustice, and in connection with the circumstances under which I took command of that division in Washington and marched it to the Army of the Potomac, it has, I believe, done me a serious injury at the War Department. I know that the commander of an army of 100,000 men cannot, from personal observation, be acquainted with the movements and condition of each division, yet there were facts connected with the time at which my division joined the army at Antietam and the number of men present when it lay in position in the rear of General Morell's division, and the time at which it occupied Morell's position when he vacated it, that I thought would have prevented any misapprehension or forgetfulness as to those points. First, as to the time which my division arrived. It was not later than 7 o'clock on the morning of Thursday, the 18th of September, when I reached your headquarters, having halted my command a quarter or third of amile from it. I reported at once to General Williams, but some fifteen minutes elapsed before I was intorduced to your tent, where apparently you had just finished breakfast. The breakfast I partook of at your invitation refreshed me to such a degree that I shall not soon forget it. I mention it to recall the time to your recollection. Your inquiries were directed to the strength of my division, their ammunition, number and kind of pieces of artillery and their ammunition, my replies to which appeared to give you great satisfaction. The fact of their having marched all night and from about 4 or half past 4 the preceding afternoon, was of course well known to you, and to my remark that many had fallen out of the ranks and that the division would need a couple of hours of rest and refreshement before it could be worth much, you replied that that they could have during the day, to getund occupied by General Porter's corps. You stated briefly to me some of the chief events of the day before - particularly the position of General Burnside toward the close of the day - and at that time and in conclusion mentioned that you had not yet decided whether to renew the battle that morning. Between half an hour and an hour after leaving your tent I marched my division past your headquarters, and while it was passing through the cluster of houses called Keedysville you passed it on your way from your headquarters (to General Burnside's position I supposed). During the halt of an hour or an hour and a half, while I was at your headquarters, the greater part of those who had fallen out on the march came up, and my division was about 6,000 strong when you passed it. Troops in Keedysville delayed its progress, but at 9.30, or at latest 10 o'clock, it was in position 400 or 500 yards in rear of Morell's division on the reverse slope of the hill, the apex of which was occupied by General Porter and his staff. About an hour later General Morell evacuated his position and my division occupied it, filing past you as they did so. This was before midday, and I believe not later than 11 o'clock. My division, all told, consisted of nearly 7,000 men. The
*See VOL. XIX, Part I, p. 32.