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[67] Manassas with a portion of Banks's command, and then at once throwing all forces I can concentrate upon the line agreed upon last week. The Monitor justifies this course. I telegraphed this morning to have the transports brought to Washington, to start from there. I presume you will approve this course. Circumstances may keep me out here some little time longer.1

Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
G. B. Mcclellan, Major-General.

The reference to the Monitor is to be explained by the condition previously made in connection with the proposition of going to Fortress Monroe, that the Merrimac, our Virginia, should first be neutralized. The order to bring the ‘transports’ to Washington was due to the fact that they had not dared to run by our batteries on the Potomac, and intended to avoid them by going to Annapolis for embarkation. The withdrawal of our batteries from the banks of the Potomac had removed the objection to going down that river, and the withdrawal of our forces across the Rappahannock was fatal to the program of landing on that river, and marching to Richmond before our forces could be in position to resist an attack on the capital. Notwithstanding the assurance given that the destruction of railroads and bridges proved that our army could not intend to advance, apprehension was still entertained of an attack upon Washington.

As soon as we ascertained that the enemy was concentrating his forces at Fortress Monroe, to advance upon our capital by that line of approach, all our disposable force was ordered to the Peninsula, between the James and York Rivers, to the support of General John B. Magruder, who, with a force of seven to eight thousand men, had, by availing himself of the Warwick River, a small stream which runs through a low, marshy country, from near Yorktown to the James River, constructed an entrenched line across the Peninsula, and with equal skill and intrepidity had thus far successfully checked every at tempt to break it, though the enemy was vastly superior in numbers to the troops under General Magruder's command. Having a force entirely inadequate to occupy and defend the whole line, over thirteen miles long, he built dams in the Warwick River, so as to form pools across which the enemy, without bridges, could not pass, and posted detachments at each dam to prevent the use of them by attacking columns of the enemy. To defend the left of his line, where the stream became too small to present a serious obstacle to the passage of troops, redoubts were constructed, with curtains connecting them.

Between Yorktown and Gloucester Point, on the opposite shore, the

1 See Report on the Conduct of the War, Part I, pp. 10-12, 309-311.

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