On Saturday, October 25, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln, annoyed with General George McClellan’s excuses for procrastination after Antietam, wired McClellan, noting “I have just read your dispatch about sore tongued and fatiegued [sic] horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything?”
McClellan in response defended his cavalry’s inability to stop Stuart’s ride around his army and pointed out the various reconnaissances in force and raids that his army had conducted. But once again, the commander of the Army of the Potomac made excuses to his boss, the commander-in-chief of the Northern military. How long would Lincoln continue to accept McClellan’s excuses? And how long would McClellan keep his large and well-equipped army out of the field?