TENALLYTOWN, October 6, 1861.
I have not written you since the few lines the day we expected to have a fight. The stampede lasted for thirty-six hours. I believe it is now generally known that McClellan had planned a surprise, which, if he had succeeded in, would have brought on a big fight, in which our division was to have a part; but the sudden disappearance of the enemy frustrated the plan. There is no doubt they were apprised of it, though McClellan asserts he did not tell even the generals who were to share in it till the very moment of action, and that he is now convinced it is impossible to do or attempt anything without their knowing it. At present all is quiet, the enemy having retired to his old lines about Manassas. His threatening Washington was a bravado, hoping to draw McClellan out. Failing in this, he has fallen back, thinking we would rush after him, and thus give them a chance to get us at a disadvantage. They are, as Woodbury said, great on strategy, but 1 guess they will find after awhile that our movements are not to be governed by theirs, and that McClellan is not going to move until he is ready, and then not in the direction they want him.
Macomb has been made a lieutenant colonel, as chief Topographical Engineer of McClellan's staff — the least they could do for him, as all the rest of the chiefs have been made generals and colonels.
SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 221