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takes the general direction of it; the artillery is under the general direction of General Barry, but it is distributed among the different brigades; the reserve artillery is under the charge of General Hunt.
Question. Would you divide the army into what is called army corps ?
Question. Would you consider it in a condition to move until it was so divided?
Answer. I would divide it into three or four bodies, and put each under the command of an officer of sufficient rank to make it certain that nobody would dispute his commands. I think it is a great mistake to keep a great number of colonels acting as brigadier generals, and brigadier generals acting as major generals. There should be no question as to the power of an officer to command those about him. A general cannot send orders to every individual man in the army, or to every officer commanding a brigade; and I do not see how he can to every officer commanding a division; he should have his army divided into corps, so that when he had a movement he could send off and tell the right man to do so and so, and it would be done.
By Mr. Julian:
Answer. I have seen in the papers that General McClellan wanted it done, but I do not know anything about it. We are all jealous of military rank in this country; the case is different in Europe from what it is with us; there the government, when it needs a man, selects the best one for the purpose, no matter what his rank may be. If you read the English papers you will find that General So-and-so is made colonel of such a regiment. In the last batch of English papers, I know, I read that a general, whose name I never heard of before, was appointed colonel of a regiment.
By the chairman: Question. I suppose that, all other things being equal, it would have been much better to have made this forward movement six weeks ago than now?
Answer. If everything had been ready we should have had it over now and been having the benefit of it.
Question. You would have had the benefit of the weather then?
Answer. I do not know. We are beginning to have cold weather now, and I think you should have the ground frozen when you move.
By Mr. Chandler : Question. How long a time would it take to make preparations for this movement—to make an organization of the army for that purpose?
Answer. A few days. Certain persons should be designated to whom should be assigned certain divisions. The general in command should have the greatest latitude in designating such officers. In Europe armies are organized in that way, the day before a battle even.
By the chairman: Question. There are great political reasons why we should make a demonstration as soon as it can be done prudently. That is one reason why we congressmen look with so much anxiety to it. The great question is the want of funds.
Answer. Certainly. And nothing that is necessary to make it successful, or that will tend to make it so, should be neglected. I suppose they have collected the whole force that the south has been able to get into the field. I do not believe they can increase their force. They can only make good the losses by death, &c. If you destroy this army, then you destroy the rebellion. You
will so discourage them that they will have to yield. And if we do not succeed, the effect will be terrible on us.
By Mr. Chandler: Question. Do you think they have 100,000 effective men in their whole army?
Answer. I cannot say I do not believe it. I cannot say I disbelieve it.
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 27, 1861. General F. W. LANDER sworn and examined.
By the chairman :
Answer. It was supposed that I had four regiments. Those regiments reported. One regiment was badly armed, so badly armed that I could not use them in battle. Question. I know
sick and disabled. But I suppose you have reflected upon a plan of the campaign so as to give an opinion of your owu in regard to what this army on the Potomac ought to do.
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. If you will give us your opinion, as a military man, upon that subject, I will be obliged to you.
Answer. It is against the army regulations and laws of Congress to discuss the views and plans of your superior officer. In answering this question, it must be understood that in my subordinate capacity I have had no interviews or consultation with the commander-in-chief, other than those I had with Lieutenant General Scott prior to my being taken sick, in reference to the conduct of the campaign of the army of the Potomac. I have suggested to gentlemen on the staff, during my sickness, the propriety of the use of General Banks's position and General Kelly's position, not only to open the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, but to occupy the northern part of Shenandoah valley and the passes of the Blue mountains, and most especially by a detachment of cavalry, to cut off the northern branch of the Manassas Gap railroad, by which the rebels are now supplied with beef, pork, and four from the towns of Winchester and Strausburg. I have held, as a soldier, that even if the army of the Potomac attack in front, it would not only be proper but highly expedient to hold the Blue mountain passes ; firstly, because the Shenandoah valley would be reserved to the Union, the Union population there being hardly in the ascendancy; and, secondly, because it would engage the attention of the enemy; they would be compelled to fight us in the mountain passes—we in their rear, they in our front-where they could not dispossess us of the position unless they threw forward 40,000 men. If they should push forward 40,000 men, that would enable the right of our line to advance with no earthworks in the way, and their 40,000 men would be sacrificed if McCall's division and the right of the army of the Potomac did their duty. But these are mere matters of opinion, and have been poorly stated.
I have also stated to gentlemen, high in authority, that if I could be furnished with 300 pack-mules and with 5,000 men, with liberty in the quartermaster's department to purchase beef cattle and to employ some of my old mountaneers, so that I could move with celerity—such men now being in this city– I would engage to penetrate the Blue Mountains and endeavor to take the town of Winchester and break the northern branch of the Manassas Gap railway.
In all these matters I rely fully and completely on the co-operation of General Kelly, now at Romney, where he was ordered by General Scott at my suggestion. I trust that I have never spoken disrespectfully of those to whom the government has intrusted heretofore the conduct of the war, unless it be regarded disrespectful when I stated, on hearing of the illness of General Kelly, that I would rather have his eye stuffed with straw than any general in the westthat is, in Western Virginia—who were proposed to be sent to supersede him. I swear fairly and freely to all that. That covers, I think, about as much as I had a right to say, or had any basis on which to speak. I do not know what General McClellan's views are, what his motives are, or why the army stands still so long. But probably he does now. As the plan has now been intrusted to bim, it would be idle for me to offer opinions about it.
Question. We want your opinion, independent of him—that is what we want. You are a military man, and we want your opinion as to what can now be done!
Answer. Well, you can occupy the Blue Mountains.
Question. You have stated that. Would the plan you have spoken of, do you suppose, at this advanced season of the year, be practicable ?
Answer. Not so practicable as it would have been six weeks ago. It is practicable with 5,000 or 6,000 of our Western Virginia troops, and Ohio and Indiana troops. But whether it would be practicable with men who are housed and buttered up about Washington, and taught to believe that if they make a march of three miles it will get into the papers, I do not know. I know the Indiana troops travelled night and day to get into battle, and the only trouble was they did not get there.
Nothing is as practicable in the winter season as in the bright fall season. Wagon transportation is an immense thing in an army. Up there we have no mules ; we take our wagon horses and bring up the supplies of the army in the rear. The horses are tied out in a cold storm, say in the mountains, and many of them will die, and the rest are jaded and bad. It is very difficult to do anything in that country, except with jack-mules. The men then can hug the mountains closely where there is timber, and make fires every night and keep comfortable. It is not intended to make a large movement, to move a large army, unless you intend to build a railway as you go along.
Question. Your opinion, then, is, that if you had the conduct of this campaign you would move General Banks's division forward to the town of Winchester?
Answer. I would ; but I would have him strongly re-enforced. He must rest on something all the way, and rest on something behind. The engineers of the enemy would see that the way to cut him off would be from the rear. I would go with 10,000 men—15,000 would be better—and go right down in the rear of the army of the Manassas, if I could be supported from behind. The less number of men the greater the risk, and it is rather risky.
Question. What sized army would you consider sufficient for that operation ? Would 50,000 be enough for that movement ?
Answer. It would certainly be enough.
Answer. I could whip them in that position. The only dangerous point is the place where the Potomac river is crossed. If they cut me off there, they can push troops on me until they have enough to beat me. But while they are fighting me, somebody must attack them at once in front. My disposition—as I suppose I shall be ordered on duty soon, to take charge of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad—is to have the fighting end of the road. And the first thing the enemy knew I would place on the western side of the Blue Ridge, on the bridlepaths on top of the mountains, a force of men, come down and get between the
Rep. Com. 108-11
force there and the force here, and cut them off; and let Banks take Winchester, and let Kelly advance and take Romney, and we should have them. I am sent, say, to the western end on that division. The enemy have been prepared to expect an attack from Kelly. What can I do there? If I go against them I only get my men killed, as our men were killed at Manassas. The secret of war is to find out where the enemy does not expect you, and there mass your troops and beat him.
Question. You propose to move Banks up at once?
Answer. Yes, sir; but Banks is a major general, and I cannot rely upon him. He is not going to move on for me.
Question. We are speaking of the plan which you would carry into effect had you the command of everybody. You think that the 15,000 men of the enemy there might be captured in a very few days?
Answer. I think if they were not captured within a week, they would not be captured at all. If you can get ready in a week, you must go at once, for there is an overwhelming force to relieve those men.
Question. Suppose that overwhelming force came up to relieve those men : if you could have a superior force there to meet them, then you would have a general battle where you had selected the field.
Answer. Yes, sir. With the railroad there, and the different means of throwing troops there, we could quietly and suddenly mass our troops, and throw them into Frederick. We could, in the meantime, use an advance division to throw a pontoon bridge across the Potomac. Then take over some six and nine pounders, and occupy Loudon Heights. While this is being done, you can quietly mass your troops, 50,000 or 60,000, with subsistence, &c., at some point, to follow up the advance guard along the Blue Mountains. As the enemy would not be expecting this, you would get their 15,000 up there before they could be assisted, or you can destroy him if he attacks you. I know nothing about turning the left here, for I have not studied the matter at all. I have only studied the matter on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
By Mr. Johnson:
Answer. Yes, sir; turning the enemy's right I should have said. I have not studied the matter of fighting the enemy there.
By Mr. Chandler: Question. Then you propose to capture their left wing the first thing you do?
Answer. If they attack me I suppose McCall would have a great opportunity to advance and cut off their left wing—he having to move with caution, and being backed up to prevent his being cut off. I do not think they will move with much more celerity than we do. They will stop to study out the whole question, and find out how we hold the Blue Mountains. I therefore propose that we follow up with a plank road, for instance, all the way until we get into North Carolina and Tennessee, and relieve those people there. We will hold the mountains, and establish ourselves in the passes; and until they get in the rear of us, into the Shenandoah valley, they can do us no harm. The objection will be made to this that it is a flank march. There is a narrow pass between their earthworks and the Blue Mountains. We must penetrate that narrow pass, and there we must mass our troops, as our column goes end on, expecting an attack from the rear. It must not be supposed that the leader will not know what he is about. He will not go with an advance guard of 5,000 men to fight the arıny of the Potomac. There is another objection : that if we can mass troops, they can do so. But our opportunity is as good as theirs, and better, if we have a temporary railway behind us. I would only have a temporary railway. Where it is level we could use steam; where the grade is steep we could use horses. I suggested some time ago the laying of a railway on the Chesapeake and Ohio canal towpath, with cleats upon it, upon which the mules can walk. For the instant the Baltimore and Ohio railroad is opened the bulk of the supplies for this great army would take its natural direction, and come down that way, and not, as they do now, all the way around by Baltimore. It would make a connexion between our army here and the extreme right, Banks's division on that extreme right, so that at any time, if the enemy attempt to enter Maryland there, we can meet him.
By the chairman : Question. How was it that the enemy took the locomotives from the Baltimore and Ohio railroad ?
Answer. There are hundreds of teams there now hauling iron from Martinsburg down to Winchester for the use of their southern armies, building railways with it. That has been going on for two or three months, and our cabinet know it.
Question. Ought not that to be stopped ?
Answer. I should think so. The difficulty is, that the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company have not been able to get their bills paid by the government, or they would open the railroad themselves, if the government would protect it after opened. I believe that if the government would conscientiously open that road, and pay the bills of the company, and then possess it for the time being to bring up supplies, it would put us in a position to use our western troops here and our eastern troops there, and we would lose nothing in the end. I believe the enemy have taken forty miles of road there—or twenty miles of doubletrack road—and moved it down to Winchester. They have occupied the town of Martinsburg and the town of Winchester, and they have a guerilla force in that country, 15,000 men in all. I saw a very smart negro, who kept a livery stable, who ran away to keep himself from being drafted, for they were drafting everybody, negroes and all — Union men and every body.
Question. Using the negroes for soldiers ?
Answer. Yes, sir. It is so reported from twenty different quarters. I told some of these plans to General McClellan, when it was supposed I was to take charge of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. He said it would change the whole front of the battle; that we should fight the battle here, with all our transportation resting on the sea. Now, I do not propose to run counter to a man who has has studied the whole matter, while I have only studied to the right here. But I believe there are a great many opinions about this turning the right. It does one thing, at all events—it makes this American government protect Union citizens. We should need a heavy quartermaster's department to do it. That is where the money will have to be spent. Not such a terrible amount, but say ten per cent. of the whole cost of the movement. But I do not care if Napoleon the Great even should be here to carry out this movement, he could not do it if he was interfered with in his quartermaster's department. He must cut out roads, guard against his retreat being cut off, and have a measureless quartermaster's department. Packing up in the mountains is a very difficult operation in cold weather. But it was a very good operation in the coal mountains in the summer. I have always thought that after the battle of Cheat Mountain we should have occupied the valley of the Alleghanies, and gone off down through them, bearing off to the right to relieve Eastern Tennessee. We should have compelled them togo there to fight us, and not go where they were to fight them. They must drive us out or starve. Another thing: in turning the right, every battle we win is a victory, because we dispossess them of the munitions of war, and make an advance. Once do that, cut off their means of transportation, and get their arms, and disperse this army, and they can never raise another army. But if we go on the left simply because we can defend with