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[82] headquarters of the Army of the Potomac. Immediate orders were to be given to make the railroad over Long Bridge.

January 11.

Held a meeting with General Franklin, in the morning, at the Treasury Building, and discussed the question of the operations which, in our judgment, were best under existing circumstances—as season, present position of the forces, present condition of the country—to be undertaken before going into the matter as to when those operations could be set on foot. I urged that we should now find fortifications in York River which would require a movement in that direction to be preceded by a naval force of heavy guns to clear them out, as well as the works at West Point. That Richmond was now fortified; that we could not hope to carry it by a simple march after a successful engagement; that we should be obliged to take a siege-train with us. That all this would take time, which would be improved by the enemy to mass his forces in our front, and we should find that we had not escaped any of the difficulties we have now before this position; but simply lost time and money to find those difficulties when we should not have so strong a base to operate from, nor so many facilities, nor so large a force as we have here, nor, in proportion, so small a one to overcome. That the war now had got to be one of positions, till we should penetrate the line of the enemy. That to overcome him in front, or cut his communication with the South, would, by its moral as well as physical effect, prostrate the enemy, and enable us to undertake any future operations with ease, and certainty of success; but that in order of time, as of importance, the first thing to be done was to overcome this army in our front, which is beleaguering our capital, blockading the river, and covering us day by day with the reproach of impotence, and lowering us in the eyes of foreign nations, and our people both North and South; and that nothing but what is necessary for this purpose should go elsewhere.

General Franklin suggested whether Governor Chase, in view of what we were charged to do, might not be at liberty to tell us where General Burnside's expedition had gone? I went and asked him. He told me that, under the circumstances, he felt he ought to do so; and said it was destined for Newbern, N. C., by the way of Hatteras Inlet and Pamlico Sound, to operate on Raleigh or Beaufort, or either of them. That General McClellan had, by direction of the President, acquainted him with his plans, which was to go with a large force of this Army of the Potomac to Urbanna or Tappahannock, on the Rappahannock, and then with his bridge-train move directly to Richmond. On further consultation with General Franklin, it was agreed that our inquiries were to be directed to both cases of going from our present position, and of removing the large part of the force to another base further South. A question was raised by General Franklin, whether in deference to General McClellan we should not inform him of the duty we were ordered to perform. I said the order I received was marked private and

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