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MAJ. GEN. GEORGE B. M°CLELLAN
ORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
CAMPAIGNS IN VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND
From July 26, 1861, to November 7, 1862.
RE-PRINTED ENTIRE FROM THE COPY TRANSMITTED BY THE SECRETARY
OF WAR TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
NEW YORK, August 4, 1863. and started, on the morning of the 23d, for SIR: I have the honor to submit herein the Washington, arriving there on the afternoon of official report of the operations of the army of the 26th. On the 27th I assumed command of the Potomac while under my charge. Accom the division of the Potomac, comprising the panying it are the reports of the corps, division troops in and around Washington, on both banks and subordinate commanders, pertaining to the of the river. various engagements, battles and occurrence: With this brief statement of ihe events which of the campaigns, and important documents immediately preceded ny being called to the connected with its organization, supply, and command of the troops åt Wasbington, I pro
These, with lists of maps and ceed to an account, from such authentic data as memoranda submitted, will be found appended, are at hand, of my military operations while duly arranged, and marked for convenient ref-commander of the army of the Poiomac.
The subjects to be considered naturally ar'Charged, in the spring of 1861, with the range themselves as follows: operations in the department of the Ohio, whicb
The organization of the army of the Potomac. included the States of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, The military events connected with the deand latterly Western Virginia, it had become fences of Washington, from July, 1861, to my duty to counteract the hostile designs of the March, 1862. The campaign on the Peninsula,
in Western Virginia, which were imme- and that in Maryland. diately directed to the destruction of the Balti- The great resources and capacity for powerful more and Ohio railroad and the possession of the resistance of the South at the breaking out of Kanawba valley, with the ultimate object of the rebellion, and the full proportions of the gaining Wheeling and the control of the Ohio great conflict about to take place, were sought
to be carefully measured; and I had also endeavThe successful affairs of Phillippi, Rich , ored, by every means in my power, to impress Mountain, Carrick's Ford, &c., had been fought, upon the authorities the necessity for such imand I had acquired possession of all Western mediate and full preparations as alone would Virginia north of the Kanawha valley, as well enable the government to prosecute the war on a as the lower portion of that valley.
scale commensurate with the resistance to be I had determined to proceed to the relief of offered. the upper Kanawba valley, as soon as provision On the 4th of August, 1861, I addressed to was made for the permanent defence of the the President the following memorandum, premountain passes leading from the east into the pared at his request: region under control, when I received at Bererly, in Randolph county, on the 21st of July, 1861, intelligence of the unfortunate result of the battle of Manassas, fought on that day. The object of the present war differs from
On the 22d I received an order by telegraph, those in which nations are engaged, mainly in directing me to turn orer my command to Brig- this: that the purpose of ordinary war is to adier General Rosecrans, and repair at once to conquer a peace, and make a treaty on advanWashington.
tageous terms; in this contest it has become I had already caused reconnoissances to be necessary to crush a population sufficiently numade for intrenchments at the Cheat Mountain merous, intelligent and warlike to constitute a pass; also on the Hunterville road, near Elk-nation. We have not only to defeat their armed water, and at Red House, y near the main road and organized forces in the field, but to display from Romney to Grafton. During the afternoon such an overwhelming strength as will convince and right of the 22d I gave the final instructions all our antagonists, especially those of the govfor the
construction of these works, turned over / erning, aristocratic class, of the utter impossithe command to Brigadier General Rosecrans, bility of resistance. Our late reverses make
this course imperative. Had we been success- I presume that the force required for the ful in the recent battle, (Manassas,) it is possi- movement down the Mississippi will be deterble that we might have been spared the labor mined by its commander and the President. and expenses of a great effort.
If Kentucky assumes the right position, not Now we have no alternative. Their success more than 20,000 will be needed, together with will enable the political leaders of the rebels those that can be raised in that State and Eastto convince the mass of their people that we ern Tennessee, to secure the latter region and are inferior to them in force and courage, and its railroads, as well as ultimately to occupy to command all their resources. The contest Nashville, began with a class, now it is with a people- The Western Virginia troops, with not more our military success can alone restore the for- than five to ten thousand from Ohio and Indiana, mer issue.
should, under proper management, suffice for its By thoroughly defeating their armies, taking protection. their strong piaces, and pursuing a rigidly pro- When we have re-organized our main army tective policy as to private property and un- here, 10,000 man ought to be enough to protect armed persons, and a lenient course as to private the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Potosoldiers, we may well hope for a permanent re- mac, 5,000 will garrison Baltimore, 3,000 Fort storation of a peameful Union. But, in the first Monroe, and not more than 20,000 will be instance, the authority of the government must necessary, at the utmost, for the defence of be supported by overwhelming physical force. Washington.
Our foreign relations and financial credit also For tlie main army oë operations I urge the imperatively demand that the military action following composition: of the government should be prompt and irresistible,
250 regiments of infantry, say 225,000 men. 100 field batteries, 600 guns.
15,000 The rebels have chosen Virginia as their 28 regiments of cavalry.
25,500 battle-field, and it seems proper for us to make 5 regiments engineer troops. the first great struggle there. But while thus
273,000 directing our main efforts, it is necessary to diminish the resistance there offered us, by The force must be supplied with the necesmovements on other points both by land and sary engineer and pontoon trains, and with water.
transportation for everything save' tents. Its Without entering at present into details, general line of operations should be so directed would advise that a strong movement be made that water transportation can be availed of from on the Mississippi, and that the rebels be driven point te point, by means of the ocean and the out of Missouri.
rivers emptying into it. An essential feature As soon as it becomes perfectly clear that of the plan of operations will be the employKentucky is cordially united with us, I would nent of a strong naval force to protect the advise a movement through that State into East- movement of a fleet of transports intended to ern Tennessee, for the purpose of assisting the convey a considerable body of troops from Union men of that region and of seizing the point to point of the enemy's sea-coast, thus railroads leading from Memphis to the east. either creating diversions and rendering it
The possession of those roads by us, in con- necessary for them to detach largely from their nection with the movement on the Mississippi, main body, in order to protect such of their would go far towards determining the evacua- cities as may be threatened, or else landing and tion of Virginia by the rebels. In the mean- forming establishments on their coast at any time, all the passes into Western Virginia from favorable places that opportunity might offer. the east should be securely guarded, but I This naval force should also co-operate with would advise no movement from that quarter the main army in its efforts to seize the importowards Richmond, unless the political condi- tant seaboard towns of the rebels. dition of Kentucky renders it impossible or in- It cannot be ignored that the construction of expedient for us to make the movement upon railroads has introduced a new and very imEastern Tennessee through that State. Every portant element into war, by the great facilities effort should, however, be made to organize, thus given for concentrating, at particular posiequip and arm as many troops as possible in tions, large masses of troops from remote secWestern Virginia, in order to render the Ohio tions, and by creating new strategic points and and Indiana regiments available for other oper- lines of operations. ations.
It is intended to overcome this difficulty by At as early a day as practicable, it would be the partial operations suggested, and such others well to protect and re-open the Baltimore and as the particular case may require. We must Ohio Railroad. Baltimore and Fort Monroe endeavor to seize places on the railways in the should be occupied by garrisons sufficient to re- rear of the enemy's points of concentration, tain them in our possession.
and we must threaten their seaboard cities, in The importance of Harper's Ferry and the order that each State may be forced, by the neline of the Potomac in the direction of Lees- cessity of its own defence, to diminish its conburg, will be very materially diminished 80 tingent to the confederate army. soon as our force in this vicinity becomes or- The proposed movement down the Missisganized, strong, and efficient, because no capa-sippi will produce important results in this ble General will cross the river north of this connection. That advance and the progress of city, when we have a strong army here ready to the main army at the east will materially assist cut off his retreat.
each other by diminishing the resistance to be To revert to the West. It is probable that encountered by each. no ery large additions to the troops now in The tendency of the Mississippi movement Missouri will be necessary to secure that State. upon all questions connected with cotton is 100