the action of the 30th of August.
This small fraction of 20,500 men was all of the 91,000 veteran troops from Harrison's Landing which ever drew trigger under my command, or in any way took part in that campaign.
By the time the corps of Franklin and Sumner, 19,000 strong, joined me at Centerville, the original Army of Virginia, as well as the corps of Heintzelman, and the division of Reynolds, had been so much cut up in the severe actions in which they had been engaged, and were so much broken down and diminished in numbers by the constant and excessive duties they had performed, that they were in little condition for any effective service whatever, and required, and should have had, some days of rest to put them into anything like condition to perform their duties in the field.
, we have seen, was ordered on the 3d of August to withdraw his army from the Peninsula
He hesitated, and remonstrated; but the orders were reiterated more peremptorily; and he left Harrison
's Bar with his rear-guard on the 16th of August.
Having embarked and dispatched his corps successively at and near Fortress Monroe
, he left that post on the 23d, arriving at Acquia creek
on the 24th, removing to Alexandria
on the 27th; on which day Halleck
Porter reports a general battle imminent.
Franklin's corps should move out by forced marches, carrying three or four days provisions, and to be supplied, as far as possible, by railroad.
Perhaps you may prefer some other road than to Centerville.
To this, he replied, at 10:20 A. M.:
I have sent orders to Franklin to prepare to march with his corps at once, and to repair here in person to inform me as to his means of transportation.
At 1:15 P. Mr.
, he again telegraphed Gen. Halleck
Franklin's artillery has no horses except for four guns without caissons.
I can pick up no cavalry.
In view of these facts, will it not be well to push Sumner's corps here by water as rapidly as possible, to make immediate arrangements for placing the works in front of Washington in an efficient condition of defense?
I have no means of knowing the enemy's force between Pope and ourselves.
Can Franklin, without his artillery or cavalry, effect any useful purpose in front?
Should not Burnside at once take steps to evacuate Falmouth and Acquia, at the same time covering the retreat of any of Pope's troops who may fall back in that direction?
I do not see that we have force enough in hand to form a connexion with Pope, whose exact position we do not know.
Are we safe in the direction of the Valley?
Half an hour later, he telegraphed:
I think our policy now is to make these works perfectly safe, and mobilize a couple of corps as soon as possible; but not to advance them until they can have their artillery and cavalry.
An hour later, he telegraphed again :
I still think that we should first provide for the immediate defense of Washington on both sides of the Potomac.
I am not responsible for the past, and cannot be for the future, unless I receive authority to dispose of the available troops according to my judgment.
Please inform me at once what my position is. I do not wish to act in the dark.
At 6 P. M., he telegraphed again:
I have just received the copy of a dispatch from General Pope to you, dated 10 A. M., this morning, in which he says: “All forces now sent forward should be sent to my right at Gainesville.”
I now have at my disposal here about 10,000 men of Franklin's corps, about 2,800 of Gen. Tyler's brigade, and Col. Tyler's 1st Connecticut Artillery, which I recommend should be held in hand for the defense of Washington.
If you wish me to order any part of this force to the front, it is in readiness to march at a moment's notice to any point you may indicate.
In view of the existing state of things in our front, I have deemed it best to order Gen. Casey to hold his men for [from] Yorktown in readiness to move, but not to send them off till further orders.
At 4:40 P. M. next day, Aug. 28th, he telegraphed Gen. Halleck
Gen. Franklin is with me here.
I will know in a few minutes the condition of artillery and cavalry.
We are not yet in condition to move; may be by to-morrow morning.
Pope must cut through to-day, or adopt the plan I suggested.
I have ordered troops to garrison the works at Upton's Hill.
They must be held at any