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'1. WM. H. SEWARD, SECRETARY OF STATE.
2. EDWIN M. STANTON, SECRETARY OF WAR. 8. GIDEON WELLES, SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.
4. SALMON F. CHASE, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
THE GREAT REBELLION.
THE SEVEN DAYS' CONTEST REMARKABLE FORESIGHT POSITION OF OUR
ARMY - LEE'S PLAN -THE MOVEMENT COMMENCED - BATTLE OF GAINES'
MC CLELLAN'S LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT ON THE POLICY THAT SHOULD
BE ADOPTED IN PROSECUTING THE WAR - EFFECT OF IT ON HIMSELF.
BEFORE McClellan had fully determined that retreat
would be necessary, he had decided in what direc. tion it should be, when it became inevitable, viz., to James River, and not back to the base of his supplies at the White House.
With a foresight that seems almost like a divine premonition, he sent to Fortress Monroe to have transports carry up supplies to Harrison's Landing on James River, to be ready for his exhausted troops when they should arrive there, and with them gunboats, to co-operate with his land forces as circumstances might direct. These precautions saved him from annihilation. Having thus done all that human sagac- . ity or foresight could accomplish, he anxiously waited the decisive movements of the enemy, which should settle at once his course of action.
POSITION OF THE ARMY.
To understand the exact position of our army at this time, it is necessary only to remember that the Richmond and York River railroad, running east to the White House, (the base of supplies,) and the Chickahominy River, form the two sides of a letter V - Bottom's bridge being at the point. The right arm of the V looking north is the river, which our forces occupied up to Mechanicsville north of Rich mond, and the left arm is the railroad, running directly towards Richmond. The Williamsburg stage road ran alongside of the railroad, and not far from it. On the rail. road, directly in front of the rebel capital, stood our entrenchments.
Here, and between the river and rebel fortifications, extending northward from the city, lay eight divisions of our army. . On the opposite side of the river was General Porter, with two divisions, and the regular reserves, to guard against a flank movement from the north, which should have been taken care of by McDowell. The other flank, south of the railroad and turnpike, was protected by the White Oak Swamp
This was McClellan's position; and in case of retreat, two courses an open to him - either to fall back along the route by which he had advanced, to the White House on York River, or cross the White Oak Swamp southward, and reach the James River, where he still would be in striking distance of the rebel capital.
The various roads by which the enemy, from his central position at Richmond, could advance on the Union army, stretching from White Oak Swamp nearly to Mechanicsville, may be understood, by standing with the face toward it in Richmond and placing the right hand spread out, on the map. The thumb would represent the space between the Central railroad and Mechanicsville turnpike—the forefinger, the road to the New Bridge — the middle finger, the York