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eastern Virgiuia, Washington, the Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, including Baltimore, and the one including Fort Monroe, shonld be merged into one department, under the immediate control of the commander of the main army of operations, and which should be known and designated as such.* Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Comimanding.


Washington, August 9, 1861. To the llou. the SECRETARY OF WAR:

SIR: I received yesterday from Major-General McClellan a letter of that date, to wbichi I design this as my only reply.

Had Major-General McClellan presented the same views in person, they would have been freely entertained and discussed. All my mili. tary views and opinions had been so presented to him, without eliciting much remark, in our few meetings, which I have in vain sought to multiply. He has stood on his guard, and now places himself on record. Let him make the most of his unenvied advantages.

Major-General McClellan has propagated in high quarters the idea expressed in the letter before me, that Washington was not only "insecure," but in "imininent danger.”

Relying on our numbers, our forts, and the Potomac River, I am coufident in the opposite opinion; and considering the stream of pew regiments that is pouring in upon us (before this alarm could have reached their homes), I have not the slightest apprehension for the safety of the Government here.

Having now been long unable to mount a horse, or to walk more than a few paces at a time, and consequently being unable to review troops, much less to direct them in battle-in short, being broken dowu by many particular hurts, besides the general infirinities of age-I feel that I have become an incumbrance to the Army as well as to idyself, and that I ought, giving way to a younger commander, to seek the palliatives of physical pain and exhaustion.

Accordingly, I must beg the President, at the earliest moment, to allow me to be placed on the officers' retired list, and then quietly to lay myself up--robably forever-somewhere in or about New York. But, wherever I may spend my little remainder of life, my frequent and latest prayer will be, “God save the Union.” I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, your obedient servant,


WASHINGTON, August 10, 1861. His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

SIR: The letter addressed by me under date of the 8th instant to Lieutenant General Scott, commanding the U. S. Army, was designed to be a plain and respectful expression of my views of the ineasures demanded for the safety of the Gorernment in the imminent peril that besets it at the present hour. Every moment’s reflection and every fact transpiring convinced me of the urgent necessity of the measures there indicated, and I felt it my duty to him and to the country to com. municate them frankly. It is therefore with great pain that I have learned from you this morning that my views do not meet with the ap. probation of the Lieutenant-General, and that my letter is unfavorably regarded by him.

* Seo reference to this letter in Series I, Vol. V, p. 9.

The command with which I am intrusted was not sought by me, and has only been accepted from an earnest and humble desire to serve my country in the moment of the most extreme peril. With these views I um willing to do and suffer whatever may be required for that service. Nothing could be further from my wishes than to seek any command or urge any measures not required for the exigency of the occasion, and, above all, I would abstain from any conduct that could give offense to General Scott or embarrass the President or any department of the Government. Ivfluenced by these considerations, I yield to your request and withdraw the letter referred to.

The Government and my superior officer being apprised of what I consider to be necessary and proper for the defense of the vational capital, I shall strive faithfully and zealously to employ the means that may be placed in my power for that purpose, dismissing every personal feeling or consideration, and praying only the blessing of Divine Provi. dence on my efforts.

I will only add that as you requested my authority to withdraw the letter, that authority is hereby given, with the most profound assurance for General Scott and yourself.* Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Washington, August 12, 1861. The Hon. the SECRETARY OF WAR:

SIR: On the 10th instant I was kindly reqnested by the President to withdraw my letter to you of the 9th, in reply to one I had received from Major-General McClellan of the day before ; the President, at the same time, showing me a letter to him from General McClellan, in which, at the instance of the President, he offered to withdraw the original letter on which I had animadverted.

While the President was yet with me on that occasion a servant handed me a letter, which proved to be an unauthenticated copy, under a blank cover, of the same letter from General McC. to the President. This slight was not without its influence on my mind.

The President's visit, however, was for the patriotic purpose of healing differences, and so much did I honor his motive, that I deemed it due to him to hold his proposition under consideration for some little time.

I deeply regret that, notwithstanding my respect for the opinions and wishes of the President, I cannot withdraw the letter in question, for these reasons:

1. The original offense given to me by Major-General McClellan (see bis letter of the 8th instant) seems to have been the result of deliberation between him and some of the members of the Cabinet, by whom all the greater war questions are to be settled, without resort to or consultation with me, the nominal General-in-Chief of the Army. In further proof of this neglect-although it is unofficially known that in the last week (or six days) many regiments have arrived and others Lave chauged their positions; some to a considerable distance—not one of ihese moveinents has been reported to me (or anything else) by Major-General McClellan; while it is beliered, and I may add known, that he is in frequent coinmunication with portions of the Cabinet and ou matters appertaining to me. That freedom of access and consultatiou have, very naturally, deluded the junior general into a feeling of indifference toward his senior.

* Boo reference to this letter in Series I, Vol. V, p. 9.

2. With such supports ou his part, it would be as idle for me as it would be against the dignity of my years, to be filing daily complaints against an ambitious junior, who, independent of the extrinsic advautages alluded tv, has, uuquestionably, very high qualifications for military command. I trust they may achieve crowning victories in behalf of the Union.

3. I have in my letter to you of the 9th instant already said enough on the-to others-disgusting subject of my many physical infirmities. I will here only add that, borne down as I am by them, I should unavoidably be in the way at headquarters, even if my abilities for war were now greater than when I was young.

I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, your most obedient servant,


WASHINGTON, December 10, 1861. Your EXCELLENCY: I inclose the paper you left with me, filled as you reqnested.* In arriving at the numbers given I have left the minimun number in garrison and observation.

Information received recently leads me to believe that the enemy could ineet us in front with equal forces nearly, and I have now my mind actively turned toward another plan of campaign that I do not think at all anticipated by the enemy nor by many of our own people. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




If it were determined to make a forward movement of the Army of the Potomac without awaiting further increase of numbers or better drill and discipline, how long would it require to actually get in motion ?

If bridge trains ready by December 15, probably 25.

After leaving all that would be necessary, how many troops could join the movement from southwest of the river ?

Seventy-one thousand.
How many from northeast of it?
Thirty-three thousand.

Suppose, then, that of those southwest of the river 50,000 move forward aud menace the enemy at Centreville. The remainder of the movable force on that side move rapidly to the crossing of the Occoquan

* In the inclosure the Roman type indicates President Lincoln's handwritiug and the Italics General McClellan's.

by the road from Alexandria to Richmond, there to be joined by the whole movable force from northeast of the river, having lauded from the Potomac, just below the mouth of the Occoquan, moved by land up the south side of that stream to the crossing point named, then the whole move together by the road thence to Brentsville and beyond to the railroad just south of its crossing of Broad Run, a strong detachment of cavalry having gone rapidly ahead to destroy the railroad bridges south and north of the point.

If the crossing of the Occoquan by those from above be resisted, those landing from the Potomac below to take the resisting force of the enemy in rear, or, if the landing from tlie Potomac be resisted, those crossing the Occoquan from above to take that resisting force in the rear. Both points will probably not be successfully resisted at the same time.

The force in front of Centreville, if pressed too hardly, should fight back slowly into the intrenchments behind them.

Armed vessels and transportation should remain at the Potomac landing to cover a possible retreat.


Memoranda of the President on campaign of Potomac, without date, but about December 1, 1861; and letter of General McClellan dated December 10, 1861.

WASHINGTON, March 3, 1862. Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,

Saint Louis : MY DEAR HALLECK: Yours of the 24th * arrived while I was up the river. I went there to superintend the passage of the river and decide as to the ulterior movements of the troops. The passage was a very difficult one, but the Engineer troops under Duane did wonders. I found it impossible to supply a large body of troops without first establisbing depots on the Virginia side, which we are rapidly doing. So I contented myself for the present with occupying Charlestown, &c., in order to cover the reopening of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. I have also occupied Martinsburg, and will to-morrow throw out a strong force to Bunker Hill. We are thus in position to attack Winchester as soon as our supplies are collected.

I hope to open the Potomac this week, provided the weather permits. It will require a movement of the whole army in order to keep Manassas off my back. I cannot count upon any effective co-operation on the part of the Navy. As soon as I have cleared the Potomac I shall bring bere the water transportation now ready (at least it will be in four or fire days), and then move by detachments of about 55,000 men for the region of sandy roads and short land transportation. When you have asked for 50,000 men from here, my dear fellow, you have made one of two mistakes either you have much overrated my force or you have thought that I intended to remain inactive here.

I expect to fight a desperate battle somewhere near Richmond, the most desperate of the war, for I am well assured that the Army of Manassas remains intact, and that it is composed of the best armed and best disciplined that the rebels have, with the prestige of Bull Run in their favor. I have or expect to have one great advantage over you,

* Not found.

as the result of my loug and tedious labors—troops that will be depior alized neither by success nor disaster. I feel that I can count upor this army of mine, and shall gladly venture my life in the scale.

If you had been as long in command you would have had as good or perhaps a better army than this, of which I feel very proud, but that has been your bad luck and my good fortune. You have done all that could have been done with the means at your disposal. The fate of war is yet to decide whether I shall prove as skillful as you have been. I am sure that I have your good wishes and prayers.

I hardly know what to say as to your proposition about new grades. Why change the European order in the military hierarchy, and make a general junior to a lieutenant-general! I see no especial reason for it.

I had determined to bide my time, content with my present rank for the present, and hoping that Congress would give another grade after marked success. I have ever felt that higher grades than that of major-general are necessary in so large an army as that we now have, but I have felt great delicacy in alluding to it. But very few weeks will elapse before the questio vexata will be decided. Suppose we let it wait until then and then say what we think. I am willing, however, to defer to your judgment in the matter, and will do all I can to carry out the plan. I don't think I can do anything now. I have but few friends in Congress. The Abolitionists are doing their best to displace me, and I shall be content if I can keep my head above water until I am ready to strike the final blow. You have no idea of the undying hate with wbich they pursue me, but I take no notice of them, and try to keep Warren Hastings motto in inind, Mens æqua in arduis. 1 sometimes become quite angry, but generally contrive to keep my temper. Do write me fully your views as to future movements in the West. I think the first thing to be done is to separate Johnston from Memphis by seizing Decatur. Buell must then force Chattanooga, and you can then, with perfect safety, operate on Memphis, &c., and open your communications with the combined expedition, which ought to gain New Crleans within three weeks from this date. Butler will have about 16,000 men. The naval fleet is tremendous in power. Nothing new from Shermau; he and Du Pont are not on good terms; they neutralize each other. Burnside is doing well. Very sincerely, your friend,



Washington, March 16, 1862. Hon. E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War: In order to carry out the proposed object of the Army, it has now become necessary that its commander should have the entire control of affairs around Fort Monroe. I would respectfully suggest that the simplest method of effecting this would be to merge the Department of Virginia with that of the Potomac, the name of which might properly be changed to that of the Department of the Chesapeake. In carrying this into effect I would respectfully suggest that the present conmander of the Departinent of Virginia be assigned to some other com mand.

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