On Monday, October 13th, President Abraham Lincoln, worried about J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalry operating north of the Potomac, requested information from General George McClellan. In a lengthy correspondence, Lincoln chided the commander of the Army of the Potomac, asking “Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you can not do what the enemy is constantly doing?”
Noting the apparent inability of McClellan’s cavalry to stop Stuart, Lincoln wondered why that was the case and urged his general to renew his efforts to drive against Lee and Richmond. McClellan’s response was predictable; he would remind Lincoln that he had once been at the gates of Richmond but ordered north to support Pope’s Army of Virginia. McClellan also inferred that the horses in his cavalry were fatigued and incapable of pursing Stuart.