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pidan, after a general action; and that it would then be necessary to hold the lines of those rivers in force or continue the campaign by the overland route. I did not regard the inconvenience resulting from the presence of the enemy's batteries on the Potomac as sufficiently great to justify the direct efforts necessary to dislodge them, especially since it was absolutely certain that they would evacuate all their positions as soon as they became aware of the movement to the James and York rivers. It was therefore with the greatest reluctance that I made the arrangements required to carry out the positive orders of the government, and it was with great satisfaction that I found myself relieved from the necessity of making what I knew to be a false and unnecessary movement. When the enemy abandoned his position on the 8th and 9th of March, the roads were still in such a condition as to make the proposed movement upon the batteries impracticable. Before this time I had strong
sons for preferring my own. Permission was accorded, and I therefore prepared the letter to the Secretary of War which is given below. Before this had been submitted to the President he addressed me the following not: executive Mansion Washington Feb. 3, 1862. my dear Sir: You and I have distinct and different plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomac: yours to be done by the Chesapeake, up the Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the railroad on the York river; mine to move directly to a point on the railroad southwest of Manassas. If you will give satisfactory answers to the following questions I shall gladly yield my plan to yours: 1st. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of time and money than mine? 2d. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine? 3d. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine? 4th. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this: that it would break no great l
see what he has done. Now for Goldsborough. He is very much in favor of reinforcing Burnside and taking Norfolk from the Chowan and Currituck; but if this is not done his ideas are essentially coincident with yours — landing on Back bay or York river or the Poquosin, at the same time with an advance from here, carrying Yorktown, then marching on Richmond, and then taking Norfolk. He is opposed and pronounces impracticable the operation proposed by Fox on Sewell's Point, and also considere a good idea — a landing in the Severn simultaneously, taking Gloucester in the rear, and from there battering Yorktown. Yorktown and Gloucester taken, the small gunboats, regular and irregular, will be enough to command the navigation of the York river. He thinks, and Gen. Wool thinks, that the whole attention of the enemy is concentrated on Norfolk; that they are reinforcing that place and increasing their batteries day and night, and that Magruder is not reinforced. Wool thinks that some
acle to a march on the Halfway House in rear of Yorktown. After the Fort Monroe movement was decided upon my first intention was to inaugurate the operation by despatching the 1st corps in mass to the Sand-Box, three or four miles south of Yorktown, in order to turn all the entrenched crossings referred to, and receive a base of supplies as near as possible to Yorktown; or else, should the condition of affairs at the moment render it des irable, to land it on the Gloucester side of the York river at the mouth of the Severn, and throw it upon West Point. But transports arrived so slowly, and the pressure of the administration for a movement was so strong and unreasonable, that I felt obliged to embark the troops by divisions as fast as transports Map of the Penninsula. arrived, and then determined to hold the 1st corps to the last, and land it as a unit whenever the state of affairs promised the best results. A few hours after I had determined to act upon this determination Mc
e to him. Independently of the strength of the lines in front of us, and of the force of the enemy behind them, we cannot advance until we get command of either York river or James river. The efficient co-operation of the navy is, therefore, absolutely essential, and so I considered it when I voted to change our base from the Pot I examined the works on enemy's left very carefully to-day. They are very strong, the approaches difficult; enemy in force and confident. Water-batteries at York and Gloucester said to be much increased; have not seen them myself. Have not yet received reports of engineer officers. I go to-morrow to examine our left. Sha the movement was commenced I counted upon an active and disposable force of nearly 150,000 men, and intended to throw a strong column upon West Point either by York river or, if that proved impracticable, by a march from the mouth of the Severn, expecting to turn in that manner all the defences of the Peninsula. Circumstances ha
and lower work) we surely cannot command the York river. All the gunboats of the navy would fail toetary of War. U. S. Steamer Wachusett, York river, April 17, 1862. My dear general: In accollan, Maj.-Gen. Commanding. Wachusett, York river, April 22, 1862. My dear general: The carvement. The gunboats shall accompany you up York river. L. M. Goldsborough, Flag-Officer. Wainstructions. The gunboats have gone up the York river, and Franklin's, and perhaps one other divisr miles; second fort occupied; third fort, near York, is yet unfinished. They seem to be quiet now. small boats. Our position is accessible to York river. The men can live on bread and bacon. Ina brigade (Martindale's) to occupy the front of York. The roads were horrible and blocked up by wagthat they were impassable. The brigade reached York. I sent some of Hunt's batteries; they got thequickly. I have directed Martindale to camp at York. Yours ever, F. J. Porter. headquarters, A
der. The harbor here is very crowded; facilities for landing are bad. I hope to get possession of Yorktown day after to-morrow. Shall then arrange to make the York river my line of supplies. The great battle will be (I think) near Richmond, as I have always hoped and thought. I see my way very clearly, and, with my trains oncethey have the more I shall catch. . . . Yesterday I also spent on the right, taking, under cover of the heavy rain, a pretty good look at the ground in front of York and its defences. I got back about dark, pretty wet and tired out. . .To-morrow we move headquarters to a much better and more convenient camp further to the fronk it at the same time I do York. When the Galena arrives I will cause it to pass the batteries, take them in reverse, and cut off the enemy's communications by York river. As I write I hear our guns constantly sounding and the bursting of shells in Secession. 9 P. M. The firing of last night was caused by the attempt of a
n, supported promptly and strongly, as rapidly as possible up the York river by water, to land on its right bank opposite West Point, in order, I at once turned my attention to expediting the movement up the York river by water. The weather was so bad and the wharf facilities at Yore lower part of the Peninsula towards Williamsburg, one along the York river (the Yorktown road) and the other along the James (the Lee's MillAt about the same distance from Fort Magruder a branch leaves the York river road and crosses the tributary of Queen's creek on a dam, and, paeck any attempt on the Confederate line of retreat from the upper York river. Longstreet and Hill were to follow Smith on the Barhamsville rosoon as we had possession of Yorktown the gunboats started up the York river to ascertain whether the transports with Franklin's division coulecessity of expediting the movement of troops and supplies up the York river detained me so long at Yorktown, and that I did not receive earli
direct communication with Franklin, or to bring the enemy to battle if he halted south of the mouth of the Pamunkey. The frightful condition of the roads rendered the supply question very difficult, but by repairing the nearest landings on the York river, and by the energy of the quartermaster's department, that task was soon accomplished. So great were the difficulties of land-transportation that even the headquarters wagons did not reach Williamsburg until the forenoon of the 9th, up to whbeing joined by Gen. Shields's division you will move upon Richmond by the general route of the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad, co-operating with the forces under Gen. McClellan, now threatening Richmond from the line of the Pamunkey and York rivers. While seeking to establish as soon as possible a communication between your left wing and the right wing of Gen. McClellan, you will hold yourself always in such position as to cover the capital of the nation against a sudden dash of any l