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[178] not to be made, prominent among which was the limited amount of force as yet under his control. This was replied to by the President, in a letter dated April 9, in which he restates the grounds on which Blenker's division had been kept back, and shows that his mind was still not free from apprehensions as to the safety of Washington! The concluding paragraphs are as follow:--

I suppose the whole force which has gone forward for you is with you by this time. And, if so, I think it is the precise time for you to strike a blow. By delay the enemy will relatively gain upon you; that is, he will gain faster by fortifications and reinforcements than you can by reinforcements alone. And once more let me tell you, it is indispensable to you that you strike a blow. I am powerless to help this. You will do me the justice to remember I always insisted that going down the bay in search of a field, instead of fighting at or near Manassas, was only shifting, and not surmounting, a difficulty,--that we would find the same enemy and the same or equal intrenchments at either place. The country will not fail to note — is now noting — that the present hesitation to move upon an intrenched enemy is but the story of Manassas repeated.

I beg to assure you that I have never written you or spoken to you in greater kindness of feeling than now, nor with a fuller purpose to sustain you, so far as, in my most anxious judgment, I consistently can. But you must act.

Yours, very truly,

To these considerations General McClellan replies

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