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[78] the evening before were there with the addition of Judge Blair, the Postmaster General. General McDowell read a paper embodying our joint views, which were in substance, that if the Army of the Potomac was to be moved at once, it would be better to march it into Virginia than to transport it by vessels. General McDowell was, however, in favor of the immediate movement into Virginia. I was not. Just here the presence of Judge Blair was felt. He strongly opposed any movement toward Centreville at that time, denounced it as bad strategy, said that a second Bull Run would occur, and strenuously and ably advocated the movement to the Peninsula by transports. Mr. Seward and Judge Chase were of opinion that a victory over the enemy was what was required, whether gained in front of Washington or further South, and that our difficulties would probably be as great on the Peninsula as they would be at Centreville. I thought that the President, who said little, was much impressed by what Judge Blair said, and he adjourned the meeting until three o'clock the next day, directing General McDowell and myself to see the Quartermaster General in the meantime as to water transportation for the army.

On Sunday General McDowell and I saw General Meigs, the Quartermaster General. He thought that a month or six weeks would be required to collect the water transportation necessary for the movement of the army. Some of us were gathered at three o'clock for the ordered meeting. Suddenly Mr. Seward hurried in, threw down his hat in great excitement, and exclaimed, “Gentlemen, I have seen General McClellan, and he is a well man. I think that this meeting would better adjourn.” A general discussion was entered upon as to what was the best course to pursue with regard to the army, and it was understood that we would meet again on Monday, at one o'clock, when General McClellan would be present. On Monday, January 13th, at one o'clock, the same party was gathered at the President's. General McClellan shortly afterward appeared, looking exceedingly pale and weak. The President explained, in an apologetic way, why he had called General McDowell and me to these conferences, and asked General McDowell to explain the proposed plan of operations. General McDowell did so, he and I differing slightly as to the time of commencement of the movement from our front. In answer to some statement from General McDowell as to the delicate position in which we were placed, General McClellan stated that we were, of course, entitled to our opinions. I stated that in giving my opinion as to the Peninsula movement, I knew that my judgment coincided with General

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