twenty-five hundred of those captured on the 21st of July, which were in the ordnance-store of the army, at Fairfax Court-House.
Under these circumstances, the three military officers proposed, as the course offering the best chance of success, the concentration there of all the available forces of the Confederate States
; crossing the Potomac
, into Maryland
, at the nearest ford with this army, and placing it in rear of Washington
This, we thought, would compel McClellan
to fight with the chances of battle against him. Success would bring Maryland
into the Confederacy
, we thought, and enable us to transfer the war to the northern border of that State, where the defensive should be resumed.
In our opinion, Confederate troops could not be employed advantageously then in any other part of the South
And we supposed that North
and South Carolina
, which were unthreatened, could easily furnish the necessary reenforcements.
The President asked us, beginning with General Smith
, what was the smallest number of men with which such a campaign might be commenced.
He replied, “Fifty thousand soldiers.”
answered, “Sixty thousand;” and I the same number.
Each of the three explained that he meant such soldiers as formed the army around us. We also explained to the President
that large additions to our supply of ammunition and means of transportation would be required; for we had not then enough of either for our present force.
The President replied that no such reenforcements as we asked for could be furnished to the