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[563] as to the time it was required to be at Aquia Creek, nor the part it was to play during the campaign. This officer, however, who was a man of great zeal and intelligence, called upon Halleck on the 14th to tell him that if the date of the arrival of the pontons was to coincide with that of the army at Fredericksburg, the departure of the latter should be delayed for at least five days. Halleck not only refused to grant this delay, but even neglected to communicate Woodbury's remarks to Burnside, or to give the former any positive instructions. No steps were, therefore, taken to hasten the departure of the bridge equipages, upon which the success of the campaign depended, and they were forwarded according to the ordinary routine prevailing in the departments. The pontoniers, commanded by Captain Spaulding, had arrived in Washington on the 15th. Forty-eight boats, carrying the flooring and forming two equipages, each sufficient for crossing the Rappahannock, were on the 16th placed in tow of a steamer, which after many accidents brought them into the bay of Belle Plaine, near Aquia Creek, on the 18th. No Federal soldier had as yet appeared on that side, and the pontoniers who accompanied the boats were obliged, on landing, to disperse a few Confederate troopers who were watching them. But these boats were useless without the wagons especially detailed for transporting them; and when they reached Belle Plaine, these wagons were still in Washington. Burnside having answered for the safety of the road, it had been determined to wagon a portion of the equipages to Fredericksburg, but unfortunately, instead of forwarding a set of planks forming a complete equipage from each direction, the vehicles and nearly all the materials appertaining to the forty-eight pontons which had come down the Potomac were sent with the twenty boats that had to follow the land route. The departure of this convoy, under the supervision of Captain Spaulding, was subjected to all sorts of delays. At the relay stations there were no teams in readiness for this service; the orders necessary to collect them had not been issued. It became necessary to take unbroken horses, to unpack hundreds of boxes containing harness, and to engage drivers; so that the convoy, instead of leaving on the 16th, was not able to start until the 19th. Then came the rain, swelling the streams and breaking

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