Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Alexander Gardner, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
On the 1st of October, 1862, two weeks after the battle of Antietam, President Lincoln visited the Army of the Potomac, encamped near Harper's Ferry, in Maryland. He was accompanied on his trip by Major General McClernand and Staff, Colonel Lamon, the Marshal of the District of Columbia, and Mr. Garrett, President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The President reached General Sumner's headquarters, on Bolivar Heights, at Harper's Ferry, on Wednesday, occupied the afternoon in reviewing the forces at that position, and spent the night at General Sumner's quarters. On Thursday morning he recrossed the Potomac, and was met by General McClellan and Staff, who conducted him during that and the following day over the scenes of the recent battle, and in reviewing the various Corps and Divisions of the Army, extending over a space of several miles. The evening and night of Thursday and Friday the President spent at General McClellan's quarters, occupying much of the time in private conversation with him. In this conversation, it is said, that when the President alluded to the complaints that were being made of the slowness of the General's movements, General McClellan replied, "You may find those who will go faster than I, Mr. President; but it is very doubtful if you will find many who will go further."
On Saturday, the President set out on his return home, accompanied by General McClellan as far as Middletown, but on the way, riding over the battle-field of South Mountain, the leading incidents of which, the scenes of particularly desparate conflicts, the names of the Corps and officers engaged, &c., were pointed out and described by the General, as he had previously done those of the great battle of Antietam; in all of which the President evinced a deep interest. The President then proceeded to Frederick, where he was received by the people with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of respect, and reached Washington in a special train at ten o'clock at night.