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[113] he devised them, they would not enable us to defeat McClellan; and called his attention to the great length of the line compared to the number of troops occupying it; the still unfortified space between Yorktown and the head of the inundations; the fact that these inundations protected the Federal troops as well as the Confederate; the certainty that the Federal rifled cannon, mounted out of range of our obsolete “smooth-bore” guns, could destroy the batteries of Yorktown and Gloucester Point; and the very strong probability that General McClellan's plan was to open York River to his fleet by demolishing those batteries with his powerful artillery. That being done, we could not prevent him from turning our position, by transporting his army up the river and landing in our rear, or by going on to Richmond and taking possession there.

Instead of only delaying the Federal army in its approach, I proposed that it should be encountered in front of Richmond by one quite as numerous, formed by uniting there all the available forces of the Confederacy in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, with those at Norfolk, on the Peninsula, and then near Richmond, including Smith's and Longstreet's divisions, which had arrived. The great army thus formed, surprising that of the United States by an attack when it was expecting to besiege Richmond, would be almost certain to win; and the enemy, defeated a hundred miles from Fort Monroe, their place of refuge, could scarcely escape destruction. Such a victory would decide not only the campaign, but the war, while the present plan could produce no decisive result.

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G. B. McClellan (2)
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