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interior of Pennsylvania could well be afforded. A movement of the enemy upon Baltimore I consider altogether improbable, as an attack upon that place would render the destruction of the city certain.

"In connection with this movement in the direction of Fredericksburg, I would suggest that at least thirty canal boats and barges be at once loaded with commissary stores and forage and be towed to the neighborhood of Aquia Creek, from which place they can be brought into Belle Plain after the arrival of our force in that vicinity. These should be followed at once by enough stores and forage to subsist the army for forty days. A great portion of these, I think, could be towed up the Rappahannock under convoy of light draft gun boats, but that is a matter for after consideration. It will be also necessary to start at once, from Washington or Alexandria, by way of Dumfries, a quantity of beef cattle, and all the wagon trains that can be spared filled with small rations, such as bread, salt, coffee, sugar, soap and candles. This train should be preceded by ponton trains enough to span the Rappahannock with two tracks. But a small escort of cavalry for this train would be necessary, as we would be all the time between the enemy and the train. I will, however, if notified of its departure by telegraph, see that it is protected by my cavalry. During these movements, it would be well for General Sigel to remain with his force at Centreville and its neighborhood, holding Manassas Junction, Thoroughfare Gap, Aldie and Leesburg with forces sufficient to protect them against any light attack, any one of which can fall back on the main body if attacked by too large a force. The main portion of his cavalry can be kept in Loudon county, where there is an abundance of subsistence and forage. Below Fredericksburg, between the Rappahannock and the Potomac, there must be quite an amount of forage, which could be used by our brokendown animals after we reach Fredericksburg. We will need some fresh horses and mules on our arrival, which can be driven direct from Washington on this side the Potomac, or direct from

Baltimore to Smith's Point, opposite Aquia Creek, from which place they can be brought over in ferry boats, several of which it would be advisable to send us. An abundance of horses can also be brought by light draft vessels from New York and Philadelphia to a point near Belle Plain, where they can be thrown overboard and swim ashore. I cannot impress too strongly upon the General-in-Chief the necessity of furnishing by all these means an abundant supply of horses, mules and beef cattle. These should be sent to Fredericksburg, even at the risk of arriving after we have left. After reaching Fredericksburg, our wagon trains can be organized and filled with at least twelve days' provisions, when a rapid movement can be made upon Richmond direct, by way of such roads as are open to us; and as soon as the army arrives in front of the place, an attack should be made at once, and with a strong hope of success. The details of the movement from Fredericksburg I will give you hereafter.

"A great reason for feeling that the Fredericksburg route is the best is that if we are detained by the elements it would be much better for us to be on that line.

"I hope the General in Chief will impress upon the Secretary of War the necessity of sanctioning the changes which I now propose to make in this army:

"First, to divide it into three grand divisions, right, left and centre, under command of the three ranking Generals present.

"Second, to do away with the very massive and elaborate Adjutant General's office at these headquarters, and require the different commanders of the grand divisions and corps to correspond directly with Washington in reference to all such. matters as resignations, leaves of absence, discharges, recruiting service, &c., &c., about which they necessarily know more than I do. I should have to be governed by their suggestions, and the attention to these matters in detail would surround me with a large number of staff officials and embarrass me with a responsibility which I cannot assume.

"Third, to make Brigadier General Seth Williams an in

spector of the different staff departments of the command, by which means I shall ascertain if these duties are properly performed by the persons to whom they are delegated.

"To keep my own Adjutant General, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Richmond at my Headquarters, and to use as far as possible my own staff officers, with promotions necessary to their positions. I shall make as few changes as possible, but I am very anxious to keep my staff as small as possible and to throw the labor and detail upon the officers immediately in command of the troops. A telegraph from you approving of my plans will put us to work at once."

General Burnside's plan was, in brief, to demonstrate towards Culpepper, and then to make a rapid march to Falmouth, to cross the Rappahannock upon pontons at that place, to seize Fredericksburg and the heights beyond, and to establish a temporary base of supplies at Aquia Creek. The movement beyond Fredericksburg was to be a matter for subsequent consideration. But it was in General Burnside's mind to push immediately on towards Richmond upon the roads leading through Spottsylvania Court House, Bowling Green and the villages beyond; have supplies in waiting at York river, then cross the peninsula rapidly to the James river, and with that for a base, march direct upon the city of his destination.

General Burnside did not fix upon his plan of operations without consultation with other officers. He was aware of the value which attached to the advice of those who had made the art of war a study, and he was ready to listen to any suggestions which his brethren in arms might make. He was not tenacious of his own opinion, except as it could be supported by reasons which he deemed more powerful than those adduced by others. General Sigel suggested to General Burnside a plan, which contemplated a march towards the James River, striking it above Richmond, near Louisa Court House. But this proposition was rejected on account of the difficulty of moving the army through hostile territory to so great a distance from the base of supplies in an uncertain season of the year. General

Burnside adhered to his own plan, as in all respects the most feasible of any that occurred or were proposed to him.

Immediately upon the reception of General Burnside's plan, General Halleck made arrangements for an early interview at Warrenton. The consultation took place on the 12th and continued through a considerable part of the night and the following day. Generals Meigs and Haupt accompanied General Halleck and occasionally participated in the council. It was a very important interview and had a decided effect upon the issue of the campaign. The two officers were very earnest in the support of their respective opinions and the points presented in General Burnside's paper were fully examined and discussed. General Halleck urged the expediency of continuing the march of the army, retaining its present base, which would carry it towards Culpepper, assuming that that was the line suggested by the President. General Burnside was strenuous in his advocacy of the plan which he had already submitted, contending that that was in accordance with Mr. Lincoln's letter. After a long discussion, it was agreed that General Halleck would not take the responsibility of ordering the movement, but would consult the President in relation to the matter. that functionary approved the new plan, General Halleck would telegraph from Washington to that effect, immediately upon his return. General Burnside also represented to General Halleck that, if the movement on Fredericksburg was made, telegraphic communication with Washington would necessarily be broken, and that. General Halleck would be relied upon to provide for carrying out such parts of the plan as required action at Washington. He was assured that due attention would be paid to the subject by General Halleck, and that the General in Chief himself would at once "order by telegraph the ponton trains spoken of" in the plan, and "would, upon his return to Washington see that they were promptly forwarded."* Thus matters stood at the conclusion


*Burnside's Report.

of the interview, and on the afternoon of the 13th General Halleck returned to Washington. On the morning of the 14th, he telegraphed to General Burnside: "The President has just assented to your plan. He thinks it will succeed if you move rapidly, otherwise not." General Burnside immediately issued his orders for the movement of the army.

A conflict of statement now appears between Generals Burnside and Halleck, which it is necessary to examine. General Halleck, in his annual report for 1852-'63, declares that "General Burnside did not fully concur in the President's views, but finally consented to so modify his plan as to cross his army by the fords of the upper Rappahannock, and then move down and seize the heights south of Fredericksburg, while a small force was to be sent north of the river to enable General Haupt to reopen the railroad and to rebuild the bridges, the materials for which were nearly ready in Alexandria. I however refused," adds General Halleck, "to give any official approval of this deviation from the President's instructions. On my return to Washington on the 13th, I submitted to the President this proposed change in the plan of campaign, and on its receiving his assent, rather than approval, I telegraphed authority to General Burnside to adopt it. I here refer, not to General Burnside's written plan to go to Falmouth, but to that of crossing the Rappahannock above its junction with the Rapidan."* He again declares that General Burnside's "plan of marching his whole army from Warrenton to Falmouth," was never approved, nor was he ever authorized to adopt it." Again he says, that General Burnside "could not possibly have expected supplies and pontons to be landed at points then occupied in force by the enemy "-meaning, it is presumed, Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg. Here are three distinct assertions, viz. that General Burnside was deviating from Mr. Lincoln's instructions; that the written plan was not approved, but that some other verbal plan was assented to; and that certain points,


*General Halleck's Report, in Report of Secretary of War, 1863-'64, p 17.

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