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[74] General McClellan to send him McDowell's corps to operate on the north side of the York River against our battery at Gloucester Point.

On the 28th of the following June, Lincoln, noticing what he regarded as ungenerous complaint, wrote to General McClellan; ‘If you have had a drawn battle or a repulse, it is the price we pay for the enemy not being in Washington. We protected Washington, and the enemy concentrated on you.’1

The month of April was cold and rainy, and our men poorly provided with shelter, and with only the plainest rations; yet, under all these discomforts, they steadily labored to perfect the defenses, and when they were not on the front line, were constantly employed in making traverses and epaulments in the rear. Whether General McClellan, under the pressure from Washington, would have made an early assault,2 or have adhered to the policy of regular approaches, and, relying on his superiority in artillery, have waited to batter our earthworks in breach, and whether all which had been done, or which it was practicable under the circumstances to do, to strengthen the main line would have made it sufficiently strong to resist the threatened bombardment, is questionable; how soon that bombardment would have commenced is now indeterminate. A telegram from President Lincoln to General McClellan is suggestive on this point. It reads thus:

Washington, May 1, 1862.
Your call for Parrott guns from Washington alarms me—chiefly because it argues indefinite procrastination. Is anything to be done?3


By the following telegram sent by me to General J. E. Johnston, commanding at Yorktown, the contents of that which I had received from him, and of which I am not now possessed, will be readily inferred:

Accepting your conclusion that you must soon retire, arrangements are commenced for the abandonment of the navy-yard and removal of public property both from Norfolk and Peninsula. Your announcement to-day that you would withdraw to-morrow night takes us by surprise, and must involve enormous losses, including unfinished gunboats. Will the safety of your army allow more time?


1 Report on the Conduct of the War, p. 340.

2 0n April 6, 1862, President Lincoln wrote to General McClellan as follows: ‘You now have over one hundred thousand troops with you, independent of General Wool's command. I think you had better break the enemy's line from Yorktown to Warwick River at once. They will probably use time as advantageously as you can.’—Report on the Conduct of the War, pp. 319, 320.

3 Report on the Conduct of the War, p. 324.

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