the enemy in his most vital and important point.
The Government was undecided in its plans.
On the 4th of July the President
had informed General McClellan
that it was impossible to reinforce him so as to enable him to resume the offensive within a month or six weeks, and that therefore for the present a defensive policy was his only care,--adding, “Save the army, first, where you are, if you can, and, secondly, by removal, if you must.”
On the 11th of July, one of the recommendations contained in General McClellan
's letter of July 7 to the President
was adopted, by the appointment of Major-General Halleck
to the post of General-in-Chief
of the entire army of the United States.
This was the position held by General McClellan
before he left Washington
to conduct the Peninsular campaign
Its duties had subsequently been performed by the President
and Secretary of War
; and it was understood that they had a military adviser, in the person of Major-General Hitchcock
The disposition to be made of the Army of the Potomac was one of the first subjects to which the attention of the general-in-chief
was called on his arrival in Washington
; and, in order to observe for himself its condition, he made a visit to Harrison's Landing
, leaving Washington
on the 24th of July and returning on the 27th.
The result of this visit was that General Halleck
, after full consultation with his officers, came to the conclusion that it would not be possible to strengthen the Army of the Peninsula with the reinforcements