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 intrenched foe and the consummate skill and success with which you crossed and recrossed 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.