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week ago you notified us that re-enforcements were leaving Richmond to come in front of us. It is the nature of the case, and neither you nor the Government is to blame. A. LINCOLN.
Under general orders from General McClellan, he and his staff proceeding in advance, and leaving word where the corps commanders were to make successive stands to resist pursuit, but taking no part personally in any one of the succeeding engagements, the army continued its march towards James River. They first resisted and repulsed the pursuing rebels on the 29th at Savage Station, in a bloody battle, fought under General Sumner, and on the 30th had another severe engagement at Glendale. On the 1st of July, our troops, strongly posted at Malvern Hill, were again attacked by the rebels, whom they repulsed and routed with terrible slaughter; and orders were at once issued for the further retreat of the army to Harrison's Landing, which General McClellan had personally examined and selected on the day before. Even before the battle of Malvern Hill, he had telegraphed to Washington for “fresh troops," saying he should fall back to the river if possible; to which dispatch he received the following reply:
WASHINGTON, July 1, 1862-3.30 P. M.
It is impossible to re-enforce you for your present emergency. had a million of men we could not get them to you in time. We have not the men to send. If you are not strong enough to face the enemy, you must find a place of security, and wait, rest, and repair. Maintain your ground if you can, but save the army at all events, even if you fall back to Fort Monroe. We still have strength enough in the country, and will bring it out. A. LINCOLN.
Major-General G. B. MCCLELLAN.
On the next day, in reply to a request from General McClellan for 50,000 more troops, the President thus addressed him:
WASHINGTON, July 2, 1862.
Your dispatch of yesterday induces me to hope that your army 18 having some rest. In this hope, allow me to reason with you for a mo
ment. When you ask for 50,000 men to bo promptly sent you, you surely labor under some gross mistake of fact. Recently you sent papers showing your disposal of forces made last spring for the defence of Washington, and advising a return to that plan. I find it included in and about Washington 75,000 men. Now, please be assured that I have not men enough to fill that very plan by 15,000. All of General Fremont's in the Valley, all of General Banks's, all of General McDowell's not with you, and all in Washington taken together, do not exceed, if they reach, 60,000. With General Wool and General Dix added to those mentioned, I have not, outside of your army, 75,000 men east of the mountains. Thus, the idea of sending you 50,000, or any other considerable forces promptly, is simply absurd. If in your frequent mention of responsibility you have the impression that I blame you for not doing more than you can, please be relieved of such impression. I only beg, that in like manner, you will not ask impossibilities of me. If you think you are not strong enough to take Richmond just now, I do not ask you to try just now. Save the army, material, and personnel, and I will strengthen it for the offensive again as fast as I can. The governors of eighteen States offer me a new levy of 300,000, which I accept. A. LINCOLN.
On the next day, the 3d, General McClellan again wrote for 100,000 men- 66 more rather than less," in order to enable him to "accomplish the great task of capturing Richmond, and putting an end to the rebellion;" and at the same time he sent his chief of staff, General Marcy, to Washington, in order to secure a perfect understanding of the state of the army. The General said he hoped the enemy was as completely worn out as his own army, though he apprehended a new attack, from which, however, he trusted the bad condition of the roads might protect him. On the 4th, he repeated his call for "heavy re-enforcements," but said he held a very strong position, from which, with the aid of the gunboats, he could only be driven by overwhelming numbers. On the same day he received the following from the President:
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, D. C., July 4, 1862. I understand your position as stated in your letter, and by General Marcy. To re-enforce you so as to enable you to resume the offensive
within a month, or even six weeks, is impossible. In addition to that arrived and now arriving from the Potomac (about ten thousand men, I suppose), and about ten thousand, I hope, you will have from Burnside very soon, and about five thousand from Hunter a little later, I do not see how I can send you another man within a month. Under these circumstances, the defensive, for the present, must be your only care. Save the army, first, where you are, if you can; and secondly, by removal, if you must. You, on the ground, must be the judge as to which you will attempt, and of the means for effecting it. I but give it as my opinion, that with the aid of the gunboats and the re-enforcements mentioned above, you can hold your present position; provided, and so long as you can keep the James River open below you. If you are not tolerably confident you can keep the James River open, you had better remove as soon as possible. I do not remember that you have expressed any apprehension as to the danger of having your communication cut on the river below you, yet I do not suppose it can have escaped your attention. A. LINCOLN.
P. S.-If at any time you feel able to take the offensive, you are not restrained from doing so.
At this point on the 7th of July, General McClellan sent to the President a letter of advice on the general conduct of his Administration. He thought the time had come "when the Government should determine upon a civil and military policy covering the whole ground of our national trouble," and he proceeded to lay down the basis of such a policy as ought to be adopted. The war against the rebellion, he said, "should not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State in any event. Neither confiscation of property, political execution of persons, territorial organization of States, nor forcible abolition of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment. He added:"
Military power should not be allowed to interfere with the relations of servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the master, except for repressing disorder, as in other cases. Slaves, contraband, under the act of Congress, seeking military protection, should
receive it. The right of the Government to appropriate permanently to its own service claims to slave labor, should be asserted, and the right of the owner to compensation therefor should be recognized. This principle might be extended, upon grounds of military necessity and security, to all the slaves of a particular State, thus working manumission in such State; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia also, and possibly even in Maryland, the expediency of such a measure is only a question of time.
Unless the principles governing the future conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present armies.
He closed this letter by saying that to carry out these views the President would require a Commander-in-Chief who possessed his confidence and could execute his orders: he did not ask that place for himself, but would serve in any position that might be assigned him. "I may be," he adds, " on the brink of eternity; and as I hope for forgiveness from my Maker, I have written this letter with sincerity towards you, and from love for my country."
The President, instead of entering upon a discussion as to the general policy of his Administration, continued to urge the general's attention to the state of his own army; and in order to inform himself more accurately as to its actual condition and prospects, visited the camp on the 8th of July, at Harrison's Landing. The actual strength of the army seems to have been at that time a matter of considerable difference of opinion; and in regard to it, on returning to Washington, the President thus addressed the general:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 13, 1862. MY DEAR SIR: I am told that over 160,000 men have gone with your army on the Peninsula. When I was with you the other day, we made out 86,000 remaining, leaving 73,500 to be accounted for. I believe 3,500 will cover all the killed, wounded, and missing, in all your battles
and skirmishes, leaving 50,000 who have left otherwise. Not more than 5,000 of these have died, leaving 45,000 of your army still alive, and not with it. I believe half or two-thirds of them are fit for duty to-day. Have you any more perfect knowledge of this than I have? If I am right, and you had these men with you, you could go into Richmond in the next three days. How can they be got to you, and how can they be prevented from getting away in such numbers for the future?
In reply to this letter, the general disclosed the fact that 38,250 men of his army were absent by authority-i. c., on furloughs granted by permission of the Commanding General. The actual number of troops composing his army on the 20th of July, according to official returns, was 158,314, and the aggregate losses in the retreat to the James River was 15,249.
During the President's visit to the camp, the future movements of the army were a subject of anxious deliberation. It was understood that the rebels were gathering large forces for another advance upon Washington, which was comparatively unprotected and as General McClellan did not consider himself strong enough to take the offensive, it was felt to be absolutely necessary to concentrate the army, either on the Peninsula or in front of Washington, for the protection of the capital. The former course, after the experience of the past season, was felt to be exceedingly hazardous, and the corps commanders of the Army of the Potomac were decidedly in favor of the latter. General McClellan at once addressed himself to the task of defeating the project. On the 11th, he telegraphed to the President that "the army was in fine spirits, and that he hoped he would soon make him strong enough to try again." On the 12th, he said he was “more and more convinced that the army ought not to be withdrawn, but promptly re-enforced and thrown again upon Richmond." He "dreaded the effects of any retreat on the morale of his men"-though his previous experience should have obviated