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[121] Government to reinforce the land forces sufficiently to accomplish all these objects. In the mean time, you will please give all the assistance in your power to the army and navy commanders in your vicinity, never losing sight of the fact that the great object to be achieved is the capture and firm retention of New Orleans.

The remarkably sagacious foresight shown in the instructions to General Butler as to the mode of attack upon New Orleans can be fully apprehended only after reading in detail the account of the brilliant capture of that city, by the combined military and naval forces of the United States, a few weeks later.

The several letters above referred to are given in full in General McClellan's Report, and, when read together, will be found to indicate a plan which embraced in its scope all the armies of the Union and the whole region occupied by the Confederates. It was the purpose of the commander-in-chief that the various parts of the plan should be carried out simultaneously, as far as was possible, and in co-operation along the whole line of movement. In this general scheme the Army of the Potomac was to bear its part,--a leading part, it is true, but still a part in concert with other forces of the Union. This should be borne in mind in order to explain and justify the delay which was necessary to enable that army to perform its share in the execution of the whole work.

From what has been said, it is easy to see how trying was the position of General McClellan during the closing weeks of the year 1861, and how

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