The content below has been taken from Dale Carnegie's book:
This was the most lurid personal incident in Lincoln's life.It taught him an invaluable lesson in the art of dealing with people.Never again did he write an insulting letter.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought during the first three days of July 1863. During the night of July 4, Lee began to retreat Southward while storm clouds deluged the country with rain. When Lee reached the Potomac with his defeated army he found river infront of him and a victorious Union army behind him. Lee was in trap. Lincoln saw that. He had a golden opportunity to capture Lee's army and end the war immediately so he ordered Meade to attack immediately. But General Meade did the very opposite of what he was told to do. Lincoln was furious and wrote this letter to Meade:
"My dear General,
I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee's escape. he was within our easy grasp. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. I do not expect that you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone"
What do you suppose Meade did when he saw the letter. Meade never saw the letter. Lincoln never mailed it. It was found among his papers after his death.
Here the author makes a guess: After writing that letter, Lincoln looked out of the window and said to himself.."Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit in the quiet of the White House and order Meade to attack. But if I had been up atthe gettusburg and if I had seen as much blood as Meade and if my ears had been pierced with the screams of the wounded and dying, maybe I would not be so anxious to attack either. Anyhow, it is water under the bridge now. If I send this letter, it will relieve my feelings but it will make Meade to justify himself. It will make him condemn me. It will arouse hard feelings and impair all his furthur usefulness as a commander and perhaps force him to resign from my army".