Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 5.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
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To George B. McClellan [1]

Washington City, D.C.
Majr. Genl. McClellan Oct. 24 [25]. 1862

I have just read your despatch about sore tongued and fatiegued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything? A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS, IHi. Lincoln obviously misdated this telegram, since McClellan's dispatch to Halleck transmitting a report of Colonel Robert Williams of the First Massachusetts Cavalry was not received at the War Department until 12 M., October 25. Williams reported as follows:

``I have in camp 267 horses . . . of these, 128 are positively and absolutely unable to leave the camp, from the following causes, viz, sore-tongue, grease, and consequent lameness, and sore backs . . . . The horses, which are still sound, are absolutely broken down from fatigue and want of flesh . . . .'' (OR, I, XIX, II, 485-86).

McClellan replied to Lincoln at 6 P.M. October 25, as follows:

``In reply to your telegram of this date, I have the honor to state, from the time this army left Washington, on the 7th of September, my cavalry has been constantly employed in making reconnaissances, scouting, and picketing. Since the battle of Antietam, six regiments have made a trip of 200 miles, marching 55 miles in one day, while endeavoring to reach Stuart's cavalry.

``General Pleasonton, in his official report, states that he, with the remainder of our available cavalry, while on Stuart's track, marched 78 miles in twenty-four hours.

``Besides these two remarkable expeditions, our cavalry has been engaged in picketing and scouting 150 miles of river front ever since the battle of Antietam, and has made repeated reconnaissances since that time, engaging the enemy on every occasion, and, indeed, it has performed harder service since the battle than before. I beg that you will also consider that this same cavalry was brought from the Peninsula, where it encountered most laborious service, and was, at the commencementPage  475 of this campaign, in low condition, and from that time to the present has had no time to recruit.

``If any instance can be found where overworked cavalry has performed more labor than mine since the battle of Antietam, I am not conscious of it.'' (OR, I, XIX, II, 485).

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