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[128] with the Monitor, had come down the river and shown fight when our vessels first undertook to shell out the Rebel batteries at Sewell's Point, three days before her self-destruction.1 Two unfinished iron-clads were among the vessels fired by the Rebels ere they left.

The serious difference between the Administration and Gen. McClellan respecting the strength of his army, and the detachment therefrom of McDowell's and other forces for service elsewhere, now demands our deliberate consideration. Gen. McClellan, upon first assuming command2 of the Army of the Potomac, had addressed to the President a memorandum, wherein, in addition to the armies required to make “a strong movement on the Mississippi,” to drive the Rebels “out of Missouri,” to hold Kentucky, and sustain “a movement through that State into Eastern Tennessee,” to guard securely the passes into Western Virginia, “to protect and reopen the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad,” to “garrison Baltimore and Fortress Monroe,” and leave 20,000 “for the defense of Washington,” he required for his “main army of operations” 225,000 infantry, 25,500 cavalry, 7,500 engineer troops, and 15,000 artillery men, with 600 field guns; in all, 273,000 men. Even this mighty army was deemed by him insufficient, unless aided by a strong naval force.3

Nearly three months later, in a letter to the Secretary of War, he so modified this demand as to evince a willingness to begin offensive operations with a total effective force on the Potomac and in Maryland--but not including the garrison of Fortress Monroe--of 208,000 men and 488 guns; but to secure this, he calculated, would require an aggregate of 240,000 men on his muster-rolls, including the sick and absent, while he had but 168,318, with 228 field guns, present, and 6 more batteries on the way from New York. Thus his army, which by December 1st had been swelled nearly to 200,000, and for the three months succeeding

1 Com. Tatnall, in his official report of the loss of the Merrimac, lays the blame entirely on his pilots, who on the 7th assured him that they could take her to within 40 miles of Richmond if her draft were lessened to 18 feet; but, after five or six hours had been devoted to this work, and she had thus been disabled for action, they, for the first time, declared that, as the winds had for two days been westerly, the water in the James was too low, so that she could not now be run above the Jamestown flats, up to which point each shore was occupied by our armies. He had now no alternative but to fire her, land his crew, and make the best of his way to Suffolk. A Court of Inquiry, presided over by Capt. French Forrest, after an investigation protracted from May 22d to June 11th. decided that her destruction was unnecessary, and that she might, after being lightened to a draft of 20 feet 6 inches, have been taken up James river to Hog Island. Part of the blame, however, was laid on the hasty retreat from Norfolk of the military under Gen. Huger.

2 August 4, 1861.

3 He says:

Its general line of operations should be so directed that water transportation can be availed of, from point to point, by means of the ocean and the rivers emptying into it. An essential feature of the plan of operations will be the employment of a strong naval force, to protect the movements of a fleet of transports intended to convey a considerable body of troops from point to point of the enemy's seacoast. thus either creating diversions, and rendering it necessary to detach largely from their main body in order to protect such of their cities as may He threatened or else landing and forming establishments on their coast, at any favorable places that opportunity might offer. This naval force should also cooperate with the main army, in its efforts to seize the important sea-board towns of the Rebels.

--McClellan's Official Memorandum.

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