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[151] in numbers, and determined to light desperately.

On the 20th, he telegraphed to the President:

By to-morrow night, the defensive works, covering our position on this side of the Chickahominy, should be completed. I am forced to this by my inferiority of numbers, so that I may bring the greatest possible numbers into action, and secure the army against the consequences of unforeseen disaster.

At this time, his returns to the Adjutant-General's office give the following as the strength of his army on the Peninsula: Present for duty, 115,102; special duty, sick, and in arrest, 12,225; absent, 29,511-total, 156,838.

Stonewall Jackson, having done us all the mischief he could in the Valley, arrested McDowell's overland march to join McClellan, and sent 40,000 or 59,000 of our men on all manner of wild-goose chases, was now on his way in full force to Richmond; hence, misleading reports of his movements were artfully circulated among our commanders. Gen. McClellan telegraphed1 to the War Department that he had information from deserters that troops had left Richmond to reenforce Jackson, and that they were probably not less than 10,000 men. To this the President responded, that he had similar information from Gen. King at Fredericksburg; and added: “If this is true, it is as good as a reenforcemnent to you.” McClellan on that day telegraphed to the President:

A general engagement may take place at any hour. An advance by us involves a battle more or less decisive. The enemy exhibit at every point a readiness to meet us. They certainly have great numbers and extensive works. If ten or fifteen thousand men have left Richmond to reenforce Jackson, it illustrates their strength and confidence. After to-morrow, we shall fight the Rebel army as soon as Providence will permit. We shall await only a favorable condition of the earth and sky, and the completion of some necessary preliminaries.

To-morrow and to-morrow passed, and still our army did not advance; until, on the 24th, a young man of suspicious character was brought in by Gen. McClellan's scouts from the direction of Hanover Court House, who, after some prevarication, confessed himself a deserter from Jackson's command, which he had left near Gordonsville on the 21st, moving along the Virginia Central Railroad to Frederickshall, with intent to turn our right and attack our rear on the 28th. To McClellan's dispatch announcing this capture, and asking information of Jackson's position and movements, Secretary Stanton replied2 as follows:

We have no definite information as to the numbers or position of Jackson's force. Gen. King yesterday reported a deserter's statement, that Jackson's force was, nine days ago, 40,000 men. Some reports place 10,000 Rebels under Jackson at Gordonsville; others that his force is at Port Republic, Harrisonburg, and Luray. Fremont yesterday reported rumors that Western Virginia was threatened; and Gen. Kelly, that Ewell was advancing to New Creek, where Fremont has his depots. The last telegram from Fremont contradicts this rumor. The last telegram from Banks says the enemy's pickets are strong in advance at Luray. The people decline to give any information of his whereabouts. Within the last two days, the evidence is strong that, for some purpose, the enemy is circulating rumors of Jackson's advance in various directions, with a view to conceal the real point of attack. Neither McDowell, who is at Manassas, nor Banks and Fremont, who are at Middiletown, appear to have any accurate knowledge on the subject.

A letter transmitted to the department yesterday, purporting to be dated Gordonsville, on the 14th inst., stated that the actual attack was designed for Washington

1 June 18.

2 June 25.

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