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[131] entire force for duty amounts to only about (85,000) eighty-five thousand men. Gen. Wool's command, as you will observe from the accompanying order, las been taken out of my control, although he has most cheerfully cooperated with me. The only use that can be made of his command is to protect my communications in rear of this point. At this time, only 53,000 men have joined me; but they are coming up as rapidly as my means of transportation will permit. Please refer to my dispatch to the Secretary of War to-night, for the details of our present situation.

The President responded by this letter:

my dear Sir: Your dispatches, complaining that you are not properly sustained, while they do not offend me, do pain me very much. Blenker's division was withdrawn from you before you left here ; and you know the pressure under which I did it, and, as I thought, acquiesced in it — certainly, not without reluctance. After you left, I ascertained that less than 20,000 unorganized men, without a single field-battery, were all you designed to be left for the defense of Washington and Manassas Junction ; and part of this, even, was to go to Gen. Hooker's old position. Gen. Banks's corps, once designed for Manassas Junction, was diverted, and tied up on the line of Winchester and Strasburg, and could not leave it without again exposing the Upper Potomac and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. This presented (or would present, when McDowell and Sumner should be gone) a great temptation to the enemy to turn back from the Rappahlannock and sack Washington. My explicit order that Washington should, by the judgment of all the commanders of army corps, be left entirely secure, had been neglected. It was precisely this that drove me to detain McDowell.

I do not forget that I was satisfied with your arrangement to leave Banks at Manassas Junction; but, when that arrangement was broken up, and nothing was substituted for it, of course I was constrained to substitute something for it myself; and allow me to ask : Do you really think I should permit the line from Richmond via Manassas Junction to this city to be entirely open, except what resistance could be presented by less than 20,000 unorganized troops? This is a question which the country will not allow me to evade.

There is a curious mystery about the number of troops now with you. When I telegraphed you on the 6th, saying you had over a hundred thousand with you, I had just obtained from the Secretary of War a statement taken, as he said, from your own returns, making 108,000 then with you and en route to you. You now say you will have but 85,000 when all en route to you shall have reached you. How can the discrepancy of 23,000 be accounted for?

As to Gen. Wool's command, I understand it is doing for you precisely what a like number of your own would have to do if that command was away.

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 reenforcements than you can by reenforcements 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 tile story of Manassas repeated.

I beg to assure yon 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,

The President's question as to the grave discrepancy between the 85,000 men, admitted to be with or on their way to him by Gen. M., and the 108,000 asserted by Secretary Stanton, was never answered, and probably could not be; since an official return of the number of his Army April 30th, while it was still before Yorktown, makes its aggregate 130,378, whereof 112,392 were present and fit for duty; Franklin's division of 12,448 men having in the mean time been sent to him.

But, on another point, military men are not likely to agree with the President. Gen. Wool's command may very probably have been doing just

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