AL, DLC-RTL. The envelope containing this letter bears Lincoln's endorsement ``To Gen. Meade, never sent, or signed.'' Halleck telegraphed Meade at 1 P.M. on July 14, ``The enemy should be pursued and cut up, wherever he may have gone. This pursuit may or may not be upon the rear or flank, as circumstances may require. The inner flank toward Washington presents the greatest advantages. Supply yourself from the country as far as possible. I cannot advise details, as I do not know where Lee's army is, nor where your pontoon bridges are. I need hardly say to you that the escape of Lee's army without another battle has created great dissatisfaction in the mind of the President, and it will require an active and energetic pursuit on your part to remove the impression that it has not been sufficiently active heretofore.'' (OR, I, XXVII, I, 92).
Meade replied at 2:30 P.M., ``Having performed my duty conscientiously and to the best of my ability, the censure of the President conveyed in your dispatch of 1 p.m. this day, is, in my judgment, so undeserved that I feel compelled most respectfully to ask to be immediately relieved from the command of this army.'' (Ibid., p. 93).
Halleck replied at 4:30 P.M., ``My telegram, stating the disappointment of the President at the escape of Lee's army, was not intended as a censure, but as a stimulus to an active pursuit. It is not deemed a sufficient cause for your application to be relieved.'' (Ibid., pp. 93- -94).
Under date of July 14, John Hay's Diary records Lincoln's depression over Meade's despatches, and on July 15 adds that Robert Todd Lincoln ``says the
Page 329Tycoon is grieved silently but deeply about the escape of Lee. He said, `If I had gone up there, I could have whipped them myself.' I know he had that iden.''
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