previous next

[130] beyond the mere acknowledgment that the Commander-in-Chief may order what he pleases.

Yours, very truly,

Stonewall Jackson's advance to and fight at Winchester, indicating further pugnacity in that quarter, were soon found to interfere with Gen. McClellan's order1 to Gen. Banks to move his division down to Manassas, leaving only two regiments of cavalry to “occupy Winchester, and thoroughly scour the country south of the railway and up the Shenandoah Valley.”

Gen. McClellan, on embarking, calculated that he left behind, including Blenker's division, ordered to Fremont, and not including McDowell's corps, which he intended should follow him, no less than 75,000 men. But, as Blenker's division was known to be ordered to Fremont, in West Virginia, they are improperly included. Even excluding these, he computes the whole number available for the defense of Washington, including 35,467 under Banks in the Valley of the Shenandoah, at 67.428 men, with 85 pieces of light artillery. Yet he had barely departed when Gens. Hitchcock and L. Thomas, who had been instructed to investigate the matter, reported,2 “that the requirement of the President, that this city [Washington] shall be left entirely secure, has not been fully complied with.” Gen. Wadsworth, Military Governor of Washington, and as brave a man as ever lived, submitted to the War Department a statement that the entire force left under his command for the defense of Washington amounted to 20,477, of whom 19,022 were present for duty; nearly all of them new and imperfectly disciplined, several of the regiments in a very disorganized condition; 2 heavy artillery and 1 infantry regiment, which had been drilled for some months for artillery service, had been withdrawn from the forts on the south side of the Potomac; while he was at this time under orders from McClellan to detail 3 regiments to join divisions on their way to the Peninsula, and another for service at Budd's Ferry; while a further order directed him to send 4,000 men to Manassas and Warrenton to relieve Gen. Sumner, so as to enable him to embark for Yorktown. Upon the report of Gens. Hitchcock and Thomas, the President gave orders3 that either McDowell's or Sumner's corps should remain in front of Washington until otherwise directed.

Gen. McClellan, from his camp in front of Yorktown, remonstrated;4 saying:

I am now of the opinion that I shall have to fight all the available force of the Rebels not far from here. Do not force me to do so with diminished numbers; but, whatever your decision may be, I will leave nothing undone to obtain success. If you cannot leave me the whole of the 1st corps, I urgently ask that I may not lose Franklin and his division.

Two days later, he telegraphed to the War Department that:

It seems clear that I shall have the whole force of the enemy on my hands — probably not less than 100,000 men, and possibly more. In consequence of the loss of Blenker's division and the 1st corps, my force is possibly less than that of the enemy, while they have all the advantage of position.

In a dispatch of even date to the President, he says:

Your telegram of yesterday received. In reply, I have the honor to state that my

1 March 16.

2 April 2.

3 April 3.

4 April 5.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 5th (1)
April 3rd (1)
April 2nd (1)
March 16th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: