Burnside has retreated across the Rappahannock. The Rebels can now set off the battle of Fredericksburg against the battle of Antietam. They retreated back across the Potomac. But I suspect they have a great advantage in having suffered much less than we have. They fought behind entrenchments. When will our generals learn not to attack an equal adversary in fortified positions? Burnside will now perhaps have to yield to McClellan. It looks as if in the East neither army was strong enough to make a successful invasion of [the territory of] the other. If so conquest of [the] Rebellion is not to be. We have now the Emancipation Proclamation to go upon. Will not this stiffen the President's backbone so as to drive it through? Desperate diseases require desperate remedies.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 376-7