Preparations were immediately begun, in compliance with the directions contained in the letter from the Secretary of War of March 13, above given. On the 16th of March, General McClellan addressed a letter of instructions to General Banks to post his command in the vicinity of Manassas and intrench himself strongly there, for the general object of covering the line of the Potomac and Washington; and on the same day a similar letter of instructions was addressed by him to General Wadsworth, who was in command at Washington, giving him minute and detailed directions as to the military precautions to be taken to keep the capital secure. The Secretary of War having expressed a desire that General McClellan should communicate to the Departments, in an official form, his designs with regard to the employment of the Army of the Potomac, the latter addressed to the Department a note under date of March 19, in which he unfolds briefly his plan, sets forth its advantages, and states what will be requisite to insure its successful accomplishment. He especially urges the absolute necessity of a full co-operation of the navy in a combined naval and land attack upon Yorktown, as a part of his programme. He enforces this view
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