CAMP OPPOSITE FREDERICKSBURG, June 1, 1862.
Your letter of the 29th came to-day, and I should judge from its tenor that the stampede in Philadelphia this day (Sunday) week must have been pretty great. It does seem to me strange that sensible people can be so carried away by their fears as to lose all their reasoning powers. How could the enemy, even supposing their forces amounted to the exaggerated numbers stated — namely, thirty thousand — injure Washington, when Banks had ten thousand, there were twenty thousand in and around Washington, and we had here within a few hours' call forty thousand, to say nothing of the numbers that could be sent in a few hours from the Northern cities? As it is, the boldness and temerity of the enemy will probably result in their discomfiture, for McDowell is in their rear with thirty thousand men, and Banks, largely reinforced, is in their front, and it will be hard work to get themselves out of our clutches, if our people are as quick in their movements as they should be. Last night Mr. Assistant Secretary Scott made his appearance, to inquire into the canard (telegraphed to Washington by the operators), that the enemy were advancing and we retreating. He stayed several hours with McCall, and among other things told him, "it was thought in Washington (that is, Mr. Stanton thought) that if McClellan would fight he would win. That his delay was exhausting and weakening his army, while the enemy were all the time being reinforced."
Do you see how handsomely Kearney speaks of Poe at Williamsburgh?
SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 270-1