and Baltimore, as soon as you attacked Richmond; but that the report was to be circulated that Jackson had gone to Richmond, in order to mislead.
Tills letter looked very much like a blind, and induces inc to suspect that Jackson's real movement now is toward Richmond.
It caine from Alexandria, and is certainly designed, like the numerous rumors put afloat, to mislead.
I think, therefore, that, while the warning of the deserter to you may also be a blind, that it could not safely be disregarded.
I will transmit to you any further information on this subject that may be received here.
That day, having his bridges completed, Gen. McClellan
ordered an advance of his picket-line on the left, preparatory to a general forward movement; and, during the day, Heintzelman
's corps, with part of Keyes
's and Sumner
's, were pushed forward,1
he reports, through a swampy wood, though smartly resisted, with a loss on our side of 51 killed, 401 wounded, and 64 missing: total, 516.
Returning from overlooking this affair, Gen. McClellan
telegraphed to the War Department as follows:
Several contrabands, just in, give information confirming the supposition that Jackson's advance is at or near Hanover Court house, and that Beauregard arrived, with strong reeinforcements, in Richmond yesterday.
I incline to think that Jackson will attack my right and rear.
The Rebel force is stated at 200,000, including Jackson and Beauregard.
I shall have to contend against vastly superior odds.
if these reports be true.
But this army will do all in the power of men to hold their position and repulse any attack.
I regret my great inferiority in numbers, but feel that I am in no way responsible for it, as I have not failed to represent repeatedly the necessity of reenforcements; that this was the decisive point, and that all the available means of the Government should be concentrated here.
I will do all that a General can do with the splendid Army I have the honor to command; and, if it is destroyed by overwhielming numbers, can at least die with it and share its fate.
But, if the result of the action, which will probably occur to-morrow, or within a sort time, is a disaster, the responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it belongs.
Since I commenced this, I have received additional intelligence, confirming the supposition in regard to Jackson's movements and Beauregard's arrival.
I shall probably be attacked to-morrow, and now go to the other side of the Chickahominy to arrange for the defense on that side.
I feel that there is no use in again asking for reenforcements.
The President responded as follows :--
Gen. Robert E. Lee
, having succeeded to the chief command of the Rebel
army, had, in counsel with the master spirits of the Rebellion
, at length resolved on striking a decisive blow.
To this end, reenforcements had been quietly called in from all available quarters, swelling the Rebel
Army of Virginia, including Jackson