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[134] Washington, were a source of great annoyance to the Administration and of mortification to the people, and a strong desire was felt that a movement should be made to destroy them; but General McClellan was of the opinion that such an attempt would be attended with danger, and that the destruction of these batteries by our army would afford but temporary relief unless we were strong enough to hold the entire line of the Potomac. The desired end could be secured either by driving the enemy from Manassas and Acquia Creek by superior force, or by manoeuvring to compel him to vacate the position. The latter course was finally adopted, with success.

That an onward movement should be made to Richmond, and the rebellion be there attacked in its heart, was a point on which the public, the Administration, and the commander-in-chief were agreed; but by what route to make the approach — whether by the Lower Potomac and the Peninsula, or by a direct attack upon the positions at Manassas and Centreville — formed a fruitful subject of debate in the newspapers and among military men; and the discussion was all the more animated from the fact that whatever plans General McClellan had formed, or was forming, he did not make them known to others.

Thus far nothing had, apparently, disturbed the relations between General McClellan and the Administration, or changed the friendly feeling which had inspired the paragraph which has been quoted from the President's message. On the 14th day of

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