Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) online

. (page 31 of 42)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 42)
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cers. General McClellan, on the 4th, wrote a long protest
against this movement saying it mattered not what par
tial reverses might be sustained elsewhere there was the
"true defence of Washington," and he asked that the
order might be rescinded. To this letter, after again
urging General McClellan on the 4th to hasten the removal
of the sick, which he was "expected to have done with
out waiting to know what were or would be the intentions
of the Government respecting future movements," Gen
eral Halleck on the 6th addressed him as follows :


WASHINGTON, August 6, 1862. f

GENERAL : Your telegram of yesterday was received this morning, and
I immediately telegraphed a brief reply, promising to write you more
fully by mail.

You, General, certainly could not have been more pained at receiving
my order than I was at the necessity of issuing it. I was advised by
high officers, in whose judgment I had great confidence, to make the
order immediately on my arrival here, but I determined not to do so
until I could learn your wishes from a personal interview. And even
after that interview I tried every means in my power to avoid withdraw
ing your army, and delayed my decision as long as I dared to delay it.

I assure you, General, it was not a hasty and inconsiderate act, but
one that caused me more anxious thoughts than any other of my life.
But after full and mature consideration of all the pros and cons, I was
reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the order must be issued there
was to my mind no alternative.

Allow me to allude to a few of the facts in the case.

You and your officers at our interview estimated the enemy s forces in
and around Richmond at two hundred thousand men. Since then, you
and others report that they have received and are receiving large
re-enforcements from the South. General Pope s army, covering Wash
ington, ia only about forty thousand. Your effective force is only about
ninety thousand. You are thirty miles from Richmond, and General
Pope eighty or ninety, with the enemy directly between you, ready tofali


with hiit superior numbers upon one or the other as he may elect; neither
can re-enforce the other in case of such an attack*

If General Pope s army bo diminished to re-enforce you, Washington,
Maryland, and Pennsylvania would be left uncovered and exposed. If
your force be reduced to strengthen Pope, you would be too weak to
even hold the position you now occupy, should the enemy turn round
and attack you in full force. In other words, the old Army of the
Potomac is split into two parts, with the entire force of the enemy
directly between them. They cannot be united by land without expo-
sir g both to destruction, and yet they must be united. To send Pope a
forces by water to the Peninsula is, under present circumstances, a
military impossibility. The only alternative is to send the forces on the
Peninsula to some point by water, say Fredericksburg, where the two
armies can be united.

Let me now allude to some of the objections which you have urged :
you say that the withdrawal from the present position will cause the
certain demoralization of the army, "which is now in excellent discipline
and condition."

I cannot understand why a simple change of position to a new and
by no mear.s distant base will demoralize an army in excellent discipline,
unless the officers themselves assist in that demoralization, which I am
satisfied they will not.

Your change of front from your extreme right at Hanover Court-Housa
to your present condition was over thirty miles, but I have not heard
that it demoralized your troops, notwithstanding the severe losses the}
sustained in effecting it.

A new base on the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg brings you within
about sixty miles of Richmond, and secures a re-enforcement of forty <>T
fifty thousand fresh and disciplined troops.

The change with such advantages will, I think, if properly represented
to your army, encourage rather than demoralize your troops. Moreover
you yourself suggested that a junction might be effected at Yorkti. wit
but that a flank march across the isthmus would be more hazardous tlmk
to retire to Fort Monroe.

You will remember that Yorktown is two or three miles further than
Fredericksburg is. Besides, the latter is between Richmond and Wash
ington, and covers Washington from any attack of the enemy.

The political effect of the withdrawal may at first be unfavorable ; bi.t
I think the public are beginning to understand its necessity, and that they
will have much more confidence in a united army than in its separated

But you will reply, why not re-enforce me here, so that I can strike
Richmond from my present position ? To do this, you said, at our inter
view, that you required thirty thousand additional troops. I told you
that it was impossible to give you so many. You finally thought you


would, have " some cliance " of success witli twenty thousand. But you
afterwards telegraphed me that you would require thirty-five thousand,
as the enemy was being largely re-enforced.

If your estimate of the enemy s strength was correct, your requisition
was perfectly reasonable ; but it was utterly impossible to fill it until
new troops could be enlisted and organized, which woul d require several

To keep your army in its present position until it oould be so re- en
forced would almost destroy it in that climate.

The months of August and September arc almost fatal to whites who
live on that part of James River; and even after you received the re-en
forcements asked for, you admitted that you must reduce Fort Darlin- i
and the river batteries before you could advance oil Richmond.

It is by no means certain that the reduction of these fortifications
would not require considerable time perhaps as much as those at York-

This delay might not only be fatal to the health of your army, but in
the mean time General Pope s forces would be exposed to the heavy
blows of the enemy without the slightest hope of assistance from you.

In regard to the demoralizing effect of a withdrawal from the Penin
sula to the Rappahannock, 1 must remark that a large number of your
highest officers, indeed a majority of those whose opinions have been re
ported to me, are decidedly in favor of the movement. Even several of
those who originally advocated the line of the Peninsula now advise ita

I have not inquired, and do not wish to know, by whose advice or for
what reasons the Army of the Potomac was separated into two parts,
dth the enemy between them. I must take things as I find them.

I find the forces divided, and I wish to unite them. Only one feasible
plan has been presented for doing this. If you, or any one else, had
presented a better plan, I certainly should have adopted it. But all of
your plans require re-enforcements which it is impossible to give you.
It is very easy to ask for re-enforcements, but it is not so easy to give
them when you have no disposable troops at your command.

I have written very plainly as I understand the case, and I hope you
will give me credit for having fully considered the matter, although I maj
have arrived at very different conclusions from your own.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. HALLKOK, General-in- Chief.

Major-General G. B. MOCLELLAN, Commanding, etc., Berkeley, Virginia.

The order for the removal of the sick was given to
General McClellan on the 2d of August. On the 7th, he
reported that three thousand seven hundred and frrtv


had been sent, and five thousand seven hundred still
remained. On the 9th, General Halleck telegraphed
McClellan that the enemy was massing his forces in front
of General Pope arid Burnside to crush them and move
upon Washington, and that re-enforcements must at once
be sent to Aquia Creek ; to which he replied that he
wo aid "move the whole army as soon as the sick were
disposed of." On the 12th, in reply to the most pressing-
orders for immediate dispatch from General Halleck, who
urged that Burnside had moved thirteen thousand troops
in two days to Aquia Creek, General McClellan said if
Washington was in danger, that army could scar eel} 7
arrive in time to save it. On the 14th, he announced
that the movement had commenced ; on the 17th, he said
he "should not feel entirely secure until he had the
whole army beyond the Chickahominy, but that he
would tlien begin to forward troops by water as fast as
transportation would permit." On the 23d, General
Franklin s Corps started from Fortress Monroe; General
McClellan followed the next day, and reached Aquia
Creek on the 24th, and Alexandria on the evening of the
26th of August.

On the 27th of June the President had issued an order
consolidating into one army, to be called the Army of
Virginia, the forces under Major- Generals Fremont,
Banks, and McDowell. The command of this army was
assigned to Major- General John Pope ; and the army was
divided into three corps, of which the first was assigned
to Fremont, the second to Banks, and the third to Mc
Dowell. Upon receiving this order, Major-General Fre
mont applied to be relieved from the command which it
assigned him, on the ground that by the appointment of
General Pope to the chief command, his (Fremont s)
position was i subordinate and inferior to that heretofore
held by him, and to remain in the subordinate rank now
assigned him would largely reduce his rank and consid
eration in the service." In compliance with his request,
General Fremont was at once relieved.

On the 27th of August, General McClellan was ordered


by General Halleck to " take entire direction of Hie send
ing out of the troops from Alexandria" to re-enforce
Pope, whom the enemy were pressing with a powerful
array, and whose head-quarters were then at Warrenton
Junction. A portion of the Army of the Potomac which
arrived before General McClellan, had at once gone for
ward to the aid of Pope ; of those which arrived after
him, or which were at Alexandria when he arrived, not
one reached the field, or took any part in the battles by
which the army was saved from destruction and the Capi
tal from capture.

The extent to which General McClellan, who had the
" entire direction of the sending of these re-enforcements,"
was responsible for this result, is a matter of so much
importance, not only to himself and the Government,
but to the whole country, as to demand a somewhat
detailed examination.

In his report of August 4th, 1863, after giving a
portion only of the correspondence between himself
and the Government on this subject, General McClellan
says I
It will be seen from what has preceded that I lost no time that could
be avoided in moving the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula to
the support of the Army of Virginia ; that I spared no effort to hasten
the embarkation of the troops at Fort Monroe, Newport News, and
Yorktown, remaining at Fort Monroe myself until the mass of the army
had sailed ; and that after my arrival at Alexandria, I left nothing in my
power undone to forward supplies and re-enforcements to General Pope.
1 sent, with troops that moved, all the cavalry I could get hold of. Even
my personal escort was sent out upon the line of the railway as a guard,
with the provost and camp guards at head-quarters, retaining less than
one hundred men, many of whom were orderlies, invalids, members of
bands, &c. All the head-quarters teams that arrived were sent out with
supplies and ammunition, none being retained even to move the head
quarters camp. The squadron that habitually served as my personaJ
escort was left at Falmouth with General Burnside, as he was deficient in

Before taking up more important matters, it may be
well to remark, that as General McClellan was in
tiie City of Alexandria, and not in any way ex-


posed to personal danger, it is difficult to appreciate
the merit lie seems to make of yielding up his per
sonal escort, provost and camp guards, and head-quar
ter baggage -teams, when he had no use for them himself,
and when they were needed for the purpose for which
they are maintained operating against the enemy, and
that too in a pressing emergency. Even as it was, he
seems to have retained nearly a hundred, many of whom
he says were orderlies, &c., &c., around his person.

Leaving this personal matter, we come to the important
question Is it true that General McClellan left, as lie
avers, nothing undone in his power to forward supplies and
re-enforcements to General Pope s army ? Did he, on this
momentous occasion, honestly and faithfully do his whole
duty in this respect, without any personal aims, or any
jealousy, and with the single eye to the success of our
arms, and the honor, welfare, and glory of the nation ?

He had been repeatedly urged to hurry forward the
troops from the Peninsula. On the 9th of August, he was
informed by General Halleck that "the enemy is massing
his forces in front of Generals Pope and Burnside to try
and crush them, and move forward to the Potomac ;" and
was further told, "Considering the amount of transporta
tion at your disposal, your delay is not satisfactory. You
must 7nov e witfi all celerity"

Again, on the 10th, General Halleck informed him that
* the enemy is crossing the Rapidan in large force. They
are fighting General Pope to-day. There must ~be no fur-
th-er delay in your movements : that winch, has already
occurred was entirely unexpected, and must be satisfac
torily explained. Let not a moment s time be lost, and
telegraph me daily what progress you have made in exe
cuting the order to transfer your troops." Again, on the
21st, he was told, "the forces of Burnside and Pope are
hard pushed, and require aid as rapidly as you can. By
ail means see that the troops sent have plenty of ammuni
tion. We have no time to supply them ; moreover, they
may have to fight as soon as they land."

Whether or not the delays of General McClellan wera



excusable, those telegrams must have shown him, if proof
were necessary, the emergency in which Pope was placed,
and that the concentration of the two armies was not be-
irig effected in the time expected, and, as a consequence,
that Pope was in a critical position, needing immediate
help to save his army from defeat. It was under these
circumstances that General McClellan left the Peninsula.

When he reach ed Aquia on the 24th, under most posi -
tive and pressing orders from Washington, General Pope,
who had been holding the line of the Rappahannock for
nearly a week against the assaults of Lee s whole army,
and keeping up communication with Fredericksburg, so
as to receive the re-enforcements McClellan had been
ordered to send up from the Peninsula finding these
re-enforcements not coming by water to join his left as
fast as Lee marched by land around his right, and that
his right, though stretched to Waterloo Bridge, had been
turned and his rear threatened, had been obliged to throw
back his right, first to Warrenton, and then to Gaines
ville, and his left and centre from Rappahannock and
Sulphur Springs to Warrenton Junction, Bristol, and
Manassas. General McClellan knew on the 24th, when
at Aquia, of the abandoning of Rappahannock Station,
and of Pope s having broken his communication with
Fredericksburg, and himself reported the facts to General

August 26th, General Halleck ordered General Mc
Clellan from Aquia to Alexandria, and told him " Gen
eral Franklin s Corps," which had arrived at Alexan
dria, " will march as soon as it receives transportation."

General Pope had, when his line was stretched from
below Rappahannock Station to beyond Warrenton,
asked that Franklin s Corps might be sent out to take
post on his right at Gainesville, to which there was
transportation by turnpike and railroad, to guard against
what afterwards happened the movement of the enemy
through that place on his rear. The failure to have that
corps at that place, or in the action at all, was one of the
chief causes of Pope s failure. Why was this ?


August 27th, as already stated, General McClellan waa
directed "to take entire direction of the sending out of
the troops from Alexandria." On the same day he was
informed of the position of Pope s head- quarters ; of that
of most of Pope s forces; of where Pope wished 10
enforcements sent him Gainesville; and that Fitz- J >h n
Porter, then under Pope, reported a "battle imminent. At
10 A.M. on that day, he was told by Halleck, "that
Franklin s Corps should march in that direction (Manas-
sas) as soon as possible ;" and again at 12 P. M., he was
further told by Halleck that " Franklin -S Corps should
move out by forced marches, carrying three or four days
provisions, and to be supplied as far as possible by

It is well to bear in mind these explicit orders, and the
circumstances under which, and the object for which
they were given, for General McClellan either seems to
have forgotten them, or to have utterly failed to appre
ciate their importance. A battle reported by his favorite
general, Fitz- John Porter, as imminent, within cannon
sound of where he was, the road to the battle-field, a
wide, straight, Macadam turnpike, well-known to both
General McClellan and General Franklin, as each had
been over it more than once, the whole of the enemy
and army which had been pressing Pope since the 9th,
now concentrating to overwhelm him, here, one would
think, was every motive for him to do, as he claims to
have done, every thing in his power to send re- enforce
ments forward, and to send them instantly.

Why was it, then, that, at 7.15 p. M. on the 29th, more
than two days after the order for it to go by forced
marches to re-enforce an army engaged in battle, Frank
lin s Corps, was still at Anandale, about seven miles from
Alexandria, and Franklin himself in Alexandria? Gen
era! Halleck says it was all contrary to his orders, and
McClellan acknowledges himself "responsible for both
these circumstances.

In the mean time, Pope s forces fought the battles of the
87th, 28th, and 29th, and were now to fight that of the


80th without Franklin s help. Why was this? Were
the orders to send Franklin out countermanded ? General
Halleck says they were not. As it is never just to judge
a person by the light obtained after the fact, let us see, so
far as the correspondence enables us, what were the dif
ferent phases of the case as they presented themselves at
the time.

The intimation to McClellan on the 26th, that Franklin
was to go to the front, was followed by the positive or-
! lers of the 27th, given at 10 A. M. and 12 M. On that day
General McClellan reports that Generals Franklin, Smith,
and Slocum are all in Washington ; and that he had given
orders to place the corps in readiness to march to the
next in rank. At the same time, he reports heavy firing
at Centreville.

On the 28th, Halleck, learning that McClellan, who it
seems had also gone to Washington, had not returned to
Alexandria, sent orders to Franklin direct, to move with
his corps that day (the 28th) towards Manassas Junction.
On the 28th, at 3.30 P. M., Halleck informs McClellan that
" not a moment must be lost in pushing as large a force
as possible towards Manassas, so as to communicate with
Pope before the enemy is re-enforced. A he same

day, at 7.40 P. M., he again tells him :

There must be DO further delay in moving Franklin s Corps towards
Manassas. They must go to-morrow morning, ready or not ready. If we
delay too long to get ready, there will be no necessity to go at all, for
Pope will either be defeated or victorious without our aid. If there is a
want of wagons, the men must carry provisions with them till the wagon*
.ome to their relief.

There is no possible room for misunderstanding the in
tention of the General-in-Chief from these orders. He
wished, and ordered, that communication should be at
once re-established with Pope, and Pope re-enforced in
time to be of service.

Why did not McClellan re-establish the communication,
and re-enforce Pope in time to be of service ? Why did
ae halt Franklin s Corps at Anandale ?

He gives reasons for this in his telegram to Halleck of
. - > l / .-


August 29th. " By referring to my telegrams," ho
" of 10.30 A. M., 12 M., and 1 P. M., together with youi
leply of 2.48 P. M., you will see why Franklin s Corps halt-
fed at Anandale." Let us examine these telegrams in
connection with the circumstances then existing. The
tirst is as follows :

CAMP NKAU ALEXANDRIA, August 29, 10.80 A. M.

Franklin s Corps are in motion; started about six A. M. I can give him
but two squadrons of cavalry. I propose moving General Cox to Upton s
Hill to bold tbat important point with its works, and to push cavalry
scouts to Vienna via Freeman s Hill and Hunter s Lane. Cox bas two
squadrons of cavalry. Please answer at once wbether this meets your
approval. I bave directed Woodbury, with the Engineer Brigade, to
hold Fort Ly on. Sumner detached last night two regiments to the vicinity
of Forts Ethan Allen and Marcy. Meagher s Brigade is still at Aquia.
If Sumner moves in support of Franklin, it leaves us without any reliable
troops in and near Washington ; yet Franklin is too weak alone. What
shall be done ? No more cavalry arrived. Have but three squadrons be
longing to the Army of the Potomac. Franklin has but forty rounds of
ammunition, and no wagons to move more. I do not think Franklin is
In a condition to accomplish much if he meets strong resistance. I should
not have moved Mm hut for your pressing orders of last night. What iiave
you from Vienna and Drainsville ?

GEO. B. MoOLELLAX, Major- General.

Major-General H. W. HALLEOK, General-in-Chief.

To this Halleck replies :


Upton s Hill arrangement all right. We must send wagons and am
munition to Franklin as fast as they arrive. Meagher s Brigade ordered
up yesterday. Fitzhugh Lee was, it is said on good authority, in Alex
andria on Sunday last for three hours. I hear nothing from Drainsville.

H. W. HALLEOK, General-in-Chief.
Major-General MOGLELLAN, Alexandria.

To this McClellan sends the second of the dispatches he
refers to, as follows. There are two telegrams of the same
date :


Your telegram received. Do you wish the movement of Franklin s
Corps to continue? H0 is without reserve ammunition, and without
transportation. GEO. H. MoCutLLAN, Major- General.

Major-General H. W. HALLBOK, General-in-Chief.



ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, August 29, 1S62, 12 K. f

Have ordered most of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry to report to Gen
eral Bernard for scouting duty towards Rockville, Poolesville, &c. If
you apprehend a raid of cavalry on your side of river, I had better send
a brigade or two of Stunner s to near Tennallytown. Would it meet
your views to post rest of Sumner s Corps between Arlington and Fort
Corcoran, where they can either support Cox, Franklin, Chain Bridge,
and even Tennallytown?

Franklin has only ten thousand to eleven thousand ready for duty.
How far do you wish the force to advance?

GEO. B. MOCLELLAN, Major- General U. S. Army.

Major-General HALLEOK, General-in- Chief.

Then follows the telegram of 1 P. M. :

AugvAtW, 1862, IP. M. f

I anxiously await reply to my last dispatch in regard to Sumner. Wisl
to give order at once. Please authorize me to attach new regiments per
manently to my old brigades. I can do much good to old and new troops
in that way. I shall endeavor to hold a line in advance of Forts Allen
and Marsh, at least with strong advanced guards. I wish to hold the
line through Prospect Hill, Marshall s, Miner s, and Hall s Hills. This
will give us timely warning. Shall I do as seems lest to me with all the
troops in this vicinity, including Franklin, who I really think ought not,
under the present circumstances, to proceed beyond Anandalef

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major- General.

General HALLEOK, General-in-Chief.

It certainly is not easy to discover in these dispatches
any indications of a strong desire to re-enforce the Array

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 42)