Executive Mansion, Washington
December 22, 1862
To the Army of the Potomac: I have just read your Commanding General's
preliminary report of the battle of Fredericksburg. Although you were not
successful, the attempt was not an error, nor the failure other than an
accident. The courage with which you, in an open field, maintained the
contest against an entrenched foe, and the consummate skill and success
with which you crossed and re-crossed the river, in face of the enemy,
show that you possess all the qualities of a great army, which will yet
give victory to the cause of the country and of popular government. Condoling
with the mourners for the dead, and sympathizing with the severely wounded,
I congratulate you that the number of both is comparatively so small.
I tender to you, officers and soldiers, the thanks of the nation.