- The defence of Washington
-- growth of an army
-- foresight of the magnitude of the war
-- Memorandum to the President
-- letter to Secretary Cameron.
Reference to any good man will show that Washington
is situated on the point of confluence of the main Potomac with the Anacostia
, or eastern branch thereof.
The ground occupied by the city is low, though by no means flat, and is commanded from all directions by heights within the easy range of even modern field-artillery.
Moral and political considerations alike rendered it necessary to retain the seat of government in Washington
, although its situation was the most unfavorable that could be conceived under the circumstances of the case.
So far as military operations were concerned, it would have been well could the capital have been removed to New York; but this was impossible.
The defence of the capital, containing, as it did, the executive and legislative, the archives of the government, the public buildings, the honor and prestige of the nation, and, as time moved on, vast amounts of military supplies, was a matter of vital importance, and it was necessary to protect it not only from capture, but also against insult.
To accomplish this without fortifications would have required an army of great strength, so large as to detract fatally from the efficiency of the active armies.
It was, therefore, absolutely necessary to resort to fortifications, and circumstances required that they should be of a temporary nature.
As I have already stated, I found the capital entirely defenceless, and at once determined upon the system to be pursued.
During the months of August and September the work of organization and fortification proceeded as rapidly as circumstances permitted.
Naturally there were frequent reports as to the movements of the enemy in advance; sometimes of intended
crossings below Alexandria
, sometimes above the city.
In the early part of August, when we were so entirely open to attack, these reports gave me no little uneasiness.
And even after we had reached a point of comparative security, so far as the safety of Washington
was concerned, the probable effects of an inroad in any form into Maryland
rendered it necessary to be constantly on the alert and take every precaution to prevent a crossing of the river.
As soon as Gen. Banks
came under my command, Aug. 20, 1861, I directed him to cross to the eastern bank of the Monocacy
, leaving one regiment to observe the Potomac
above Harper's Ferry
, and another to watch it from the latter place to the mouth of the Monocacy
, and to put his main body not far from Hyattstown
; thus placing him in position to oppose any attempt at crossing the river above Harper's Ferry
, while his junction with the force at Washington
would be secure of the enemy's crossing below the Monocacy
In his former position, at Sandy Hook
, he was too far from Washington
He was ordered to move his surplus and heavy stores from Frederick
, and his surplus transportation to the latter place; to oppose any passage of the Potomac
by the enemy, provided it would not involve his separation from the main army; also to support Stone
when necessary, and, if forced back by superior numbers, to retreat on Rockville
He was also instructed to protect the railroad as well as practicable without making too heavy detachments.
Up to this period, and until about the beginning of September, there was reason to apprehend some attack of the enemy; at all events, reports to that effect frequently arrived, and we were not for some time in condition to offer successful resistance.
It must never be forgotten that at this period the spirit of secession was active and bitter in many parts of Maryland
had given too full proof of the feeling of a large part of its inhabitants of all classes; in the northern and western counties there were many secessionists, though the Union party was also strong; but in the southern and southeastern counties the Union
people were very few. In this condition of affairs, with our communications and lines of supply all passing through Maryland
, it was too dangerous to even allow small portions of the enemy to cross the river, and it was therefore
necessary to employ much larger numbers of troops on the frontier, on the line of communication, and in observation through the State
than would have been the case if Pennsylvania
, for example, had been the frontier State.
Before the middle of August Gen. Smith
's pickets were thrown across the river at the Chain Bridge
On the 3d of Sept., while reviewing troops east of the Capitol
, I received despatches to the effect that the enemy had appeared in force opposite the Chain Bridge
and towards Great Falls
; also that they were probably on the point of advancing along their whole line.
After giving the necessary orders at other points I rode to Gen. Smith
's headquarters at the Chain Bridge
, and determined to move his brigade across the river during the night and to entrench a position on the Virginia
side as the surest method of saving the bridge.
I ordered up King
's brigade and a battery to support him, and directed the cavalry and reserve artillery and other troops in the city to be held in readiness to move up if necessary.
was also ordered to send an additional regiment and two more guns to Great Falls
, and to hold the rest of his command in readiness to move either towards Great Falls
or the Chain Bridge
, as circumstances might require.
Early during the night Smith
crossed and at once commenced the construction of Forts Maury and Ethan Allen--positions which I had already examined.
On the 28th of Sept. Smith
's division marched out to Falls Church
, which movement, in connection with an advance of a part of Franklin
's division on the Leesburg pike
, of McDowell
's on Ball
's cross-roads and Upton's Hill
, and of Porter
's on Hall's Hill
, determined the evacuation of Munson
's, and Taylor
's hills by the enemy's outposts, who had now seen the last of Washington
's raid in 1864.
's, and Munson
's hills were occupied by a brigade of McDowell
's division, who at once commenced work upon the necessary fortifications.
The occupation of this point was of great importance, as it gave ample room in rear for moving the troops in any direction, and, in the event of my deciding to attack Centreville
, would enable me to reach that place in one march from the outposts.
Immediately after the occupation of this new position the camp of Porter's
division was moved forward to Hall
's and Munson
's hills, in easy supporting distance;
a few days later Smith
's division was moved to Marshall's Hill.
To support this movement McCall
's division was, on the 9th of Oct., brought to the Virginia
side to Langley
's, and a few days later to Prospect Hill
He was replaced at Tennallytown
by a brigade of Buell
On the 5th of Oct. Heintzelman
's division was formed, and posted at Fort Lyon
, south of Alexandria
, forming the left of our line on the Virginia
During the months of September and October Sickles
's brigade, posted on the south side of the eastern branch, sent frequent reconnoissances into lower Maryland
Early in November Hooker
's division was organized and moved to the vicinity of Budd's Ferry to observe the enemy, who were active in that direction, and to prevent, as far as possible, the crossing of the river by emissaries of the enemy.
So that early in November the positions of the command were as follows:
On the right McCall
's division at Prospect Hill
's division at Mackall's Hill, holding Lewinsville by an advanced guard; Porter
's division at Minor
's and Hall
's hills; McDowell
, with one brigade at Munson's Hill, etc.; Blenker
's division at Hunter's Chapel; Franklin
at the Theological Seminary; Heintzelman
at Fort Lyon
There were thus on the Virginia
side seven divisions, so posted as to cover every avenue of approach, and able to afford assistance to every point that could be attacked, and, moreover, in position to advance on Centreville
On the north of Washington
's division held Tennallytown
and the other important points (supported by Casey
's provisional brigades), the reserve artillery and the cavalry depots; while Stone
's division at Poolesville
, and Banks
's division at Darnestown
, observed the upper river and were in position to retire upon Washington
if attacked by superior forces.
was in the vicinity of Budd's Ferry.
By the 30th of Sept. several of the principal works were pretty well advanced, but a great deal still remained to be done to complete the system.
I shall refer elsewhere to the inconveniences resulting from the position of Washington
and the nature of the frontier formed by the Potomac
; in this place it will suffice to say that as the Potomac
is often fordable, and many of the inhabitants on the
side were favorable to the enemy, it was a very necessary and difficult task to guard it properly.
In view of its exposed position and immense political importance it was impossible to allow Washington
to be endangered; so that a garrison was always necessary, and all that could be done was to make the fortifications so strong that a comparatively small garrison would suffice.
After the experience of the first Bull Run
the executive would never consent to leave Washington
without a large garrison.
At this juncture it would have been wise to adopt a definite policy with regard to the regular army — viz., either virtually break it up, as a temporary measure, and distribute its members among the staff and regiments of the volunteer organization, thus giving the volunteers all possible benefit from the discipline and instruction of the regulars, or to fill the regular regiments to their full capacity and employ them as a reserve at critical junctures.
I could not secure the adoption of either plan, and a middle course was followed which resulted less favorably than either of the plans indicated; but it must be said that, even as things were, the regulars were in every way of immense benefit to the service.
As a general rule the officers (and, of course, the non-commissioned officers) of the volunteer regiments were entirely ignorant of their duties, and many were unfitted, from their education, moral character, or mental deficiences, for ever acquiring the requisite efficiency.
These latter were weeded out by courts-martial and boards of examination, while the others were instructed pari passu
as they instructed their men. The small number of regular officers available rendered it impossible to furnish all the staff officers from among them; so that a regiment was very fortunate if its colonel was a regular officer, and a brigade was lucky to have a regular as its commander.
The generals were usually, and colonels always, obliged to appoint their staff officers from civil life, and instruct them as best they could.
It speaks wonders for the intelligence and military aptitude of our people that so much was well done in this way on both sides.
Many of these raw civilians, who were men of pride, intelligence, and education, soon became excellent officers; though these very men most keenly regretted their lack of a good military education in early life.
The frequent reviews I held at Washington
were not at all for
the benefit of the public, nor yet for the purpose of examining the individual condition of the men, although I did much of that even on these occasions — for a general with a quick eye can see things when riding at a gallop which would seem impossible to a civilian.
But they were to accustom the regiments to move together and see each other, to give the troops an idea of their own strength, to infuse esprit de corps
and mutual emulation, and to acquaint myself with the capacity of the general officers
These reviews also had a good effect in accustoming the troops to see me, although they saw so much of me in their camps and on the picket-lines that this was of minor importance.
With new troops frequent reviews are of the greatest utility and produce the most excellent effect.
Those I held did much towards making the Army of the Potomac what it became.
Some persons, who ought to have known better, have supposed that in organizing the Army of the Potomac I set too high a model before me and consumed unnecessary time in striving to form an army of regulars.
This was an unjustifiable error on their part.
I should, of course, have been glad to bring that army to the condition of regulars, but no one knew better than myself that, with the means at my command, that would have been impossible within any reasonable or permissible time.
What I strove for and accomplished was to bring about such a condition of discipline and instruction that the army could be handled on the march and on the field of battle, and that orders could be reasonably well carried out. No one cognizant of the circumstances and possessed of any knowledge of military affairs can honestly believe that I bestowed unnecessary time and labor upon the organization and instruction of that army whose courage, discipline, and efficiency finally brought the war to a close.
In spite of all the clamor to the contrary, the time spent in the camps of instruction in front of Washington
was well bestowed, and produced the most important and valuable results.
Not a day of it was wasted.
The fortifications then erected, both directly and indirectly, saved the capital more than once in the course of the war, and enabled the army to manoeuvre freely and independently.
The organization and discipline then acquired, and so much improved during the campaign of the Peninsula
which converted the men into veterans, enabled the army to pass gloriously through the many sanguinary conflicts and harassing
campaigns that proved necessary to terminate the war. They learned to gain victories and to withstand defeat.
No other army we possessed could have met and defeated the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia
And, with all the courage, energy, and intelligence of the Army of the Potomac, it probably would not have been equal to that most difficult task without the advantage it enjoyed during its sojourn in the camps around Washington
Early in August more or less trouble and discontent appeared among some of the regiments in relation to their term of service.
In fact, many of those who enlisted during the first excitement had no expectation of engaging for a long war, and, when they found the three-months regiments returning home in large numbers, became much dissatisfied.
In two cases this culminated in open mutiny on the part of large numbers of the officers and men. In the case of one regiment I brought them to order by directing the transportation of sixty-three of the number as prisoners to the Dry Tortugas
, to labor there during the remainder of the war. In the case of the other the following order was issued:
Special order no. 27.
headquarters, division of the Potomac, Washington
, Aug. 14, 1861.
The general commanding this division learns with the utmost pain that decided insubordination, if not open mutiny, has been displayed by a large portion of the 79th regiment of N. Y. Volunteers.
The general commanding does not desire, at this time, to enter into any statement of the alleged grievances of this regiment, further than to say that he has examined into them and finds that they are frivolous and unfounded.
This conduct is disgraceful in the extreme, both as soldiers and citizens, to all concerned in it. Those who have participated in this shameful affair have utterly disgraced themselves; they are unworthy of the sympathy of their fellow-soldiers, and in acting such a part at a time when the services of every true man are required by the nation they have rendered themselves liable to the suspicion that motives of the basest cowardice have controlled their conduct.
This regiment has chosen to make the issue, and the commanding general
is prepared to meet it. The regiment is ordered to return at once to its duty.
All members of the regiment, whether officers or privates, who do not forthwith, on this order being read to them, return to duty will be required to lay down their arms and will be placed in arrest, and, refusing to do so, they
will be fired upon.
Of those who obey the order and return to their duty the mutinous ringleaders will alone be punished.
The regiment will be deprived of its colors, which will not be returned until its members have shown by their conduct in camp that they have learned the first duty of soldiers-obedience — and have proved on the field of battle that they are not wanting in courage.
A copy of this order, with the names of the officers and men implicated, will be sent to the governor of New York, to be filed among the State
The execution of this order was entrusted to Col. A. Porter
, who took with him a battalion, a squadron, and a battery of regulars.
They were drawn up in front of the mutineers, who promptly submitted.
The ringleaders were placed in irons and the rest marched over to the Virginia
In the course of a couple of months I was able to return their colors to this regiment as a reward for good conduct in camp and in several skirmishes.
The regiment afterwards accompanied Sherman
's expedition to Carolina
and did good service.
I think the trouble arose rather from poor officers than from the men.
As an additional means of preserving discipline, and to guard the camps from the presence of spies, the following order was issued:
General order no. 4.
headquarters division of the Potomac, Washington
, Aug. 16, 1861.
All passes, safe-conducts, and permits heretofore given to enter or go beyond the lines of the United States army on the Virginia
side of the Potomac
are to be deemed revoked, and all such passes will emanate only from the War Department, the headquarters of the United States army or of this division, or from the provost-marshal
Similar passes will be required to cross the river by bridge or boat into Virginia
A strict military surveillance will be exercised within the lines of the army on the northern side of the Potomac
, and upon all the avenues of every kind, by land and water, leading to and from the city of Washington
, as well over persons holding passes as all others.
Passes will not be required at or within the lines of the army north of the Potomac
, but disloyal or suspected persons will be liable to arrest and detention until discharged by competent authority; and contraband articles will be seized.
Officers and soldiers of the army will obtain passes as heretofore
All complaints of improper seizures or searches made, or purporting to be made, under military authority will be received by the proper brigade commanders or provost-marshals, who will at once investigate the same, and in each instance make report to these headquarters.
By command of Maj.-Gen. McClellan
In describing the steps taken toward the creation of the Army of the Potomac it will be well to begin with the Memorandum of Aug. 2, 1861, submitted to the President
at his request.
In my Report the date is erroneously given as of the 4th.
This paper was necessarily prepared in great haste, as my time was fully occupied both by day and night with the incessant labors incident to my assumption of the command and the dangerous condition of affairs.
The object of the present war differs from those in which nations are usually engaged, mainly in this: that the purpose of ordinary war is to conquer a peace and make a treaty on advantageous terms; in this contest it has become necessary to crush a population sufficiently numerous, intelligent, and warlike to constitute a nation.
We have not only to defeat their armed and organized forces in the field, but to display such an overwhelming strength as will convince all our antagonists, especially those of the governing, aristocratic class, of the utter impossibility of resistance.
Our late reverses make this course imperative.
Had we been successful in the recent battle (Mansssas) it is possible that we might have been spared the labor and expense of a great effort; now me have no alternative.
Their success will enable the political leaders of the rebels to convince the mass of their people that we are inferior to them in force and courage, and to command ail their resources.
The contest began with a class, now it is with a people; our military success can alone restore the former issue.
By thoroughly defeating their armies, taking their strong places, and pursuing a rigidly protective policy as to private property and unarmed persons, and a lenient course as to private soldiers, we may well hope for a permanent restoration of a peaceful Union.
But in the first instance the authority of the government must be supported by overwhelming physical force.
Our foreign relations and financial credit also imperatively demand that the military action of the government should be prompt and irresistible.
The rebels have chosen Virginia
as their battle-field, and it seems proper for us to make the first great struggle there.
But while thus directing our main efforts, it is necessary to diminish the resistance there offered us by movements on other points both by land and water.
Without entering at present into details, I would advise that a strong movement be made on the Mississippi
, and that the rebels be driven out of Missouri
As soon as it becomes perfectly clear that Kentucky
is cordially united with us, I would advise a movement through that State into Eastern Tennessee
for the purpose of assisting the Union
men of that region and of seizing the railroads leading from Memphis
to the East
The possession of those roads by us, in connection with the movement on the Mississippi
, would go far towards determining the evacuation of Virginia
by the rebels.
In the meantime all the passes into Western Virginia
from the East
should be securely guarded, but I would advise no movement from that quarter towards Richmond
, unless the political condition of Kentucky
renders it impossible or inexpedient for us to make the movement upon Eastern Tennessee
through that State.
Every effort should, however, be made to organize, equip, and arm as many troops as possible in Western Virginia
, in order to render the Ohio
regiments available for other operations.
At as early a day as practicable it would be well to protect and reopen the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
and Fort Monroe
should be occupied by garrisons sufficient to retain them in our possession.
The importance of Harper's Ferry
and the line of the Potomac
in the direction of Leesburg
will be very materially diminished so soon as our force in this vicinity becomes organized, strong, and efficient, because no capable general will cross the river north of this city when we have a strong army here ready to cut off his retreat.
To revert to the West
, it is probable that no very large additions to the troops now in Missouri
will be necessary to secure that State.
I presume that the force required for the movement down the Mississippi
will be determined by its commander and the President
assumes the right position not more than 20,000 will be needed, together with those that can be raised in that State and Eastern Tennessee
to secure the latter region and its railroads, as well as ultimately to occupy Nashville
The Western Virginia
troops, with not more than five to ten thousand from Ohio
, should, under proper management, suffice for its protection.
When we have reorganized our main army here 10,000 men ought to be enough to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
and the Potomac
; 5,000 will garrison Baltimore
, 3,000 Fort Monroe
, and not more than 20,000 will be necessary at the utmost for the defence of Washington
For the main army of operations I urge the following composition:
|250||regiments of infantry, say,||225,000||men.|
|100||field-batteries, 600 guns,||15,000||men.|
|28||regiments of cavalry,||25,500||men.|
|5||regiments engineer troops,||7,500||men.|
| || || |
The force must be supplied with the necessary engineer and pontoon trains, and with transportation for everything save tents.
Its general line of operations should be so directed that water-transportation can be availed of from point to point by means of the ocean and the rivers emptying into it. An essential feature of the plan of operations will be the employment of a strong naval force to protect the movement of a fleet of transports intended to convey a considerable body of troops from point to point of the enemy's sea-coast, thus either creating diversions and rendering it necessary for them to detach largely from their main body in order to protect such of their cities as may be threatened, or else landing and forming establishments on their coast at any favorable places that opportunity might offer.
This naval force should also co-operate with the main army in its efforts to seize the important seaboard towns of the rebels.
It cannot be ignored that the construction of railroads has introduced a new and very important element into war, by the great facilities thus given for concentrating at particular positions large masses of troops from remote sections, and by creating new strategic points and lines of operations.
It is intended to overcome this difficulty by the partial operations suggested, and such other as the particular case may require.
We must endeavor to seize places on the railways in the rear of the enemy's points of concentration, and me must threaten their seaboard cities, in order that each State may be forced, by the necessity of its own defence, to diminish its contingent to the Confederate army.
The proposed movement down the Mississippi
will produce important results in this connection.
That advance and the progress of the main army at the East
will materially assist each other by diminishing the resistance to be encountered by each.
The tendency of the Mississippi
movement upon all questions connected with cotton is too well understood by the President
and cabinet to need any illustration from me.
There is another independent movement that has often been
suggested and which has always recommended itself to my judgment.
I refer to a movement from Kansas
through the Indian Territory
upon Red river
and Western Texas
for the purpose of protecting, and developing the latent Union and free-State sentiment well known to predominate in Western Texas
, and which, like a similar sentiment in Western Virginia
, will, if protected, ultimately organize that section into a free State.
How far it will be possible to support this movement by an advance through New Mexico
is a matter which I have not sufficiently examined to be able to express a decided opinion.
If at all practicable, it is eminently desirable, as bringing into play the resources and warlike qualities of the Pacific States
, as well as identifying them with our cause and connecting the bond of union between them and the general government.
If it is not departing too far from my province, I will venture to suggest the policy of an ultimate alliance and cordial understanding with Mexico
; their sympathies and interests are with us, their antipathies exclusively against our enemies and their institutions.
I think it would not be difficult to obtain from the Mexican
government the right to use, at least during the present contest, the road from Guaymas to New Mexico
; this concession would very materially reduce the obstacles of the column moving from the Pacific
A similar permission to use their territory for the passage of troops between the Panuco
and the Rio Grande
would enable us to throw a column of troops by a good road from Tampico
, or some of the small harbors north of it, upon and across the Rio Grande
, without risk and scarcely firing a shot.
To what extent, if any, it would be desirable to take into service and employ Mexican
soldiers is a question entirely political, on which I do not venture to offer an opinion.
The force I have recommended is large; the expense is great.
It is possible that a smaller force might accomplish the object in view, but I understand it to be the purpose of this great nation to re-establish the power of its government and restore peace to its citizens in the shortest possible time.
The question to be decided is simply this: Shall we crush the rebellion at one blow, terminate the war in one campaign, or shall we leave it as a legacy for our descendants?
When the extent of the possible line of operations is considered, the force asked for for the main army under my command cannot be regarded as unduly large; every mile we advance carries us further from our base of operations and renders detachments necessary to cover our communications, while the enemy will be constantly concentrating as he falls back.
I propose, with the force which I have requested, not only to drive the enemy out of Virginia
and occupy Richmond
, but to occupy Charleston
, and New Orleans; in other words to move into the heart of the enemy's country and crush the rebellion in its very heart.
By seizing and repairing the railroads as we advance the difficulties of transportation will be materially diminished.
It is perhaps unnecessary to state that, in addition to the forces named in this memorandum, strong reserves should be formed, ready to supply any losses that may occur.
In conclusion, I would submit that the exigencies of the treasury may be lessened by making only partial payments to our troops when in the enemy's country, and by giving the obligations of the United States
for such supplies as may there be obtained.
In the light of the experience of the twenty-two years which have elapsed since this Memorandum was so hastily prepared, and after full consideration of all the events of the long and bloody war which followed it, I still hold to the soundness of the views it expressed.
Had the measures recommended been carried into effect the war would have been closed in less than one-half the time and with infinite saving of blood and treasure.
So far as I know, it was the first general plan of operations proposed upon a scale adequate to the case.
It recognized the importance of railways as a new element in strategy; it emphasized the vital importance of the railway system leading from Memphis
to the East
; it marked out the advantages to be derived from coast expeditions; it stated the part to be played upon the Mississippi
; it foreshadowed the marches upon Atlanta
and the sea-coast; it called for a force which the future proved to be fully within our means, and which would have crushed the rebellion in one or two campaigns.
In this connection I would refer to the letters written by me to Gen. Scott
in April and May of 1861.
The following was received Sept. 7 and answered Sept. 8:
general: It is evident that we are on the eve of a great battle-one that may decide the fate of the country.
Its success must depend on you and the means that may be placed at your disposal.
Impressed with this belief, and anxious to aid you with all the power of my department, I will be glad if you will inform me how I can do so.
Very truly yours,
Sir: Your note of to-day is received.
I concur in your views as to the exigency of the present occasion.
I appreciate and cordially thank you for your offers of support, and will avail myself of them to the fullest extent demanded by the interests of the country.
The force of all arms within the immediate vicinity of Washington
is nearly 85,000 men. The effective portion of this force is more than sufficient to resist with certain success any attacks on our works upon the other side of the river.
By calling in the commands of Gens. Banks
it will probably be sufficient to defend the city of Washington
from whatever direction it may be assailed.
It is well understood that, although the ultimate design of the enemy is to possess himself of the city of Washington
, his first efforts will be directed towards Baltimore
, with the intention of cutting our line of communication and supplies, as well as to arouse an insurrection in Maryland
To accomplish this he will no doubt show a certain portion of his force in front of our positions on the other side of the Potomac
, in order to engage our attention there and induce us to leave a large portion of our force for the defence of those positions.
He will probably also make demonstrations in the vicinity of Acquia Creek
, Mathias Point
, and the Occoquan
, in order still further to induce us to disseminate our forces.
His main and real movement will doubtless be to cross the Potomac
and Point of Rocks
, probably not far from Seneca Mills
, and most likely at more points than one.
His hope will be so to engage our attention by the diversions already named as to enable him to move with a large force direct and unopposed on Baltimore
I see no reason to doubt the possibility of his attempting this with a column of at least 100,000 effective troops.
If he has only 130,000 under arms, he can make all the diversions I have mentioned with his raw and badly organized troops, leaving 100,000 effective men for his real movement.
As I am now situated I can by no possibility bring to bear against this column more than 70,000, and probably not over 60,000, effective troops.
In regard to the composition of our active army, it must be borne in mind that the very important arms of cavalry and artillery had been almost entirely neglected until I assumed command of this army, and that consequently the troops of these arms, although greatly increased in numbers, are comparatively raw and inexperienced, most of the cavalry not being yet armed or equipped.
In making the foregoing estimate of numbers I have reduced the enemy's force below what is regarded by the War Department and other official circles as its real strength, and have taken the reverse course as to our own. Our situation,
then, is simply this: if the commander-in-chief
of the enemy follows the simplest dictates of the military art we must meet him with greatly inferior forces.
To render success possible the divisions of our army must be more ably led and commanded than those of the enemy.
The fate of the nation and the success of the cause in which we are engaged must be mainly decided by the issue of the next battle to be fought by the army now under my command.
I therefore feel that the interests of the nation demand that the ablest soldiers in the service should be on duty with the Army of the Potomac, and that, contenting ourselves with remaining on the defensive for the present at all other points, this army should at once be reinforced by all the effective troops that the East and West and North can furnish.
In view of these facts I respectfully urge that all the available troops in Ohio
, and at least ten thousand Illinois
troops (there being fifteen thousand there unarmed), and all those of the Eastern
and Northern States, be at once directed to report to me for duty.
I beg leave to repeat the opinion I have heretofore expressed: that the Army of the Potomac should number not less than three hundred thousand men in order to insure complete success and an early termination of the war. I also request that Brig.-Gens. Don Carlos Buell
and J. F. Reynolds
-both appointed upon my recommendation and for the purpose of serving with me-be at once assigned to duty with this army; also that no general officer appointed upon my recommendation shall be assigned away from this army without my consent; that I shall have full control of all officers and troops within this department; and that no one, whatever his rank may be, shall give any orders respecting my command without my being first consulted.
Otherwise it is evident that I cannot be responsible for the success of our arms.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,