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circumstances by which this opinion is "corroborated," adding. "If this is true, it is as good as a re-enforcement to you of an equal force. I could better dispose of things, if I could know about what day you can attack Richmond." McClellan replies, the same day: "A general engagement may take place any hour. . . . . We shall await only a favorable condition of the earth and sky, and the completion of some necessary prelimi naries."
On the 19th, the President suggests that the reported re-enforcement of Jackson may be a mere ruse. McClellan replies,
on the 20th: "I have no doubt that Jackson has been re-enforced from here. There is reason to believe that Gen. R. S. Ripley has recently joined Lee's army,* with a brigade or division from Charleston. Troops have arrived recently from Goldsboro. There is not the slightest reason to suppose the enemy intends evacuating Richmond. He is daily increasing his defenses. . . . . I would be glad to have permission to lay before your Excellency, by letter or telegraph, my views as to the present state of military affairs throughout the whole country. In the mean time, I would be pleased to learn the disposition, as to numbers and position, of the troops not under my command, in Virginia and elsewhere."
To this singular dispatch, the President sent the following reply:
WASHINGTON, June 21, 1862, 6 P. M.
Your dispatch of yesterday, 2 P. M., was received this morning. If it would not divert too much of your time and attention from the army under your immediate command, I would be glad to have your views as to the present state of military affairs throughout the whole country, as you say you would be glad to give them. I would rather it should be by letter than by telegraph, because of the better chance of secrecy. As to the numbers and positions of the troops not under your command, in Virginia and elsewhere, even if I could do it with accuracy, which I can not, I would rather not transmit either by telegraph or letter, because of the chances
*Gen. Robert E. Lee had been assigned to the command of the Rebel forces at Richmond, on the 3d of June, superseding Johnston, who had been wounded at Fair Oaks.
of its reaching the enemy. I would be very glad to talk with you, but you can not leave your camp, and I can not well leave here. A. LINCOLN, President.
Maj.-Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN.
In his final report, Gen. McClellan makes the following statement: "All the information I could obtain, previous to the 24th of June, regarding the movements of Gen. Jackson, led to the belief that he was at Gordonsville, where he was receiving re-enforcements from Richmond via Lynchburg and Staunton; but what his purposes were, did not appear until the date specified," etc. Entertaining this opinion, it may well be asked, in passing, how happened it that he so vehemently urged, again and again, the withdrawal of all troops from before Washington, leaving an entirely inadequate garrison within the city itself, in order to transfer all to the Peninsula? Such, on the one hand, is his confession; such, on the other, was his demand. That Jackson was prepared for any "purpose" that best suited the occasion that he would have attacked Washington had McDowell's army been withdrawn, as McClellan desired, or that he would have invaded Maryland by way of the Valley, as Lee has since done-can admit of no rational doubt. Both those movements were defeated by the wise forecast of the President, and by his persistence in adhering to the policy so clearly marked out, with the approval of all the leading generals, at the outset of the Peninsular movement. When McClellan admits his inability to discern the intentions of Jackson, more than a month after the latter left Richmond, he at once puts at rest all cavils in regard to the opinions of those who assumed some other purpose possible than that finally developed. But what solution can be given of his own inaction during all this period of Jackson's known absence? And how will he even give a plausible look to his eagerness to withdraw McDowell, and to leave to Jackson an unobstructed route to the National Capital?
But the "purposes" of Jackson, hitherto so uncertain, were discovered on the 24th of June, and thus reported:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
A very peculiar case of desertion has just occurred from the enemy. The party states that he left Jackson, Whiting, and Ewell, (fifteen brigades,) at Gordonsville, on the 21st; that they were moving to Frederickshall, and that it was intended to attack my rear on the 28th. I would be glad to learn, at your earliest convenience, the most exact information you have as to the position and movements of Jackson, as well as the sources from which your information is derived, that I may the better compare it with what I have.
G. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General.
The reply was as follows:
WASHINGTON, June 25, 1862.
We have no definite information as to the numbers or position of Jackson's force. Gen. King yesterday reported a deserter's statement that Jackson's force was, nine days ago, forty thousand men. Some reports place ten thousand Rebels under Jackson, at Gordonsville; others, that his force is at Port Republic, Harrisonburg, and Luray. Fremont yesterday reported rumors that Western Virginia was threatened; and Gen. Kelley, that Ewell was advancing to New Creek, where Fremont has his depots. The last telegram from Fremont contradicts this rumor. The last telegram from Banks says the enemy's pickets are strong in advance at Luray; the people decline to give any information of his whereabouts. Within the last two days the evidence is strong that for some purpose the enemy is circulating rumors of Jackson's advance in various directions, with a view to conceal the real point of attack. Neither McDowell, who is at Manassas, nor Banks and Fremont, who are at Middletown, appear to have any accurate knowledge of the subject.
A letter transmitted to the department yesterday, purported to be dated at Gordonsville on the 14th instant, stated that the actual attack was designed for Washington and Baltimore, as soon as you attacked Richmond, but that the report was to be circulated that Jackson had gone to Richmond, in order to mislead. This letter looked very much like a blind, and induces me to suspect that Jackson's real movement is now toward Richmond. It came from Alexandria, and is certainly designed, like the numerous rumors put afloat, to mislead. I think, therefore, that while the warning of the deserter to you may also be a blind, that it could not
safely be disregarded. I will transmit to you any further information on this subject that may be received here. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War. Maj.-Gen. MCCLELLAN.
On the 25th, McClellan began to advance his left, preparatory, he says, to a general forward movement. In the evening of the same day, he reported: "The affair is over, and we have gained our point fully, and with but little loss, notwithstanding the strong opposition." An hour and a half earlier, he had telegraphed: "On our right, Porter has silenced the enemy's batteries in his front."
The blow which the wily deserter had announced to be struck by Jackson on the 28th, fell two days earlier. Only an hour after announcing the success of his preliminary movement on the 25th, McClellan reported that he had "information confirming the supposition that Jackson's advance is at or near Hanover Court House, and that Beauregard arrived, with strong reënforcements, in Richmond yesterday." The desponding side of his temper, and an impulse to protect himself from the extreme effects of an apprehended fall, appear in the following paragraph of this dispatch:
I regret my great inferiority in numbers, but feel that I am in no way responsible for it, as I have not failed to represent repeatedly the necessity of re-enforcements, that this was the decisive point, and that all the available means of the Government should be concentrated here. I will do all that a general can do with the splendid army I have the honor to command, and, if it is destroyed by overwhelming numbers, can at least die with it and share its fate. But if the result of the action which will probably occur to-morrow, or within a short time, is a disaster, the responsibility can not be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it belongs.
Secretary Stanton replied:
WASHINGTON, June 25, 1862, 11.20 P. M.
Your telegram of fifteen minutes past 6 has just been received. The circumstances that have hitherto rendered it impossible for the Government to send you any more reënforcements than has been done, have been so distinctly stated to you by the President, that it is needless for me to repeat them.
Every effort has been made by the President and myself to strengthen you. King's division has reached Falmouth;
Shield's division and Ricketts' division are at Manassas. The President designs to send a part of that force to aid you as speedily as it can be done.
E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War. Maj.-Gen. G. B. MCCLELLAN
The President sent the following dispatch on the same subject:
WASHINGTON, June 26, 1862.
Maj.-Gen. MCCLELLAN: Your three dispatches of yesterday in relation to the affair, ending with the statement that you completely succeeded in making your point, are very gratifying.
The later one, of 6.15 P. M., suggesting the probability of your being overwhelmed by two hundred thousand, and talking of where the responsibility will belong, pains me very much. I give you all I can, and act on the presumption that you will do the best you can with what you have, while you continue, ungenerously I think, to assume that I could give you more if I would. I have omitted, and shall omit, no opportunity to send you reënforcements whenever I possibly can.
P. S. Gen. Pope thinks if you fall back, it would be much better toward York river than toward the James. As Pope now has charge of the Capitol, please confer with him through the telegraph. A. LINCOLN.
The aggregate number of the Army of the Potomac, on the 20th of June, was 156,838. The campaign had now extended into the season when disease could not fail to be prevalent, in the low, swampy region now occupied by the Government troops. The effective men numbered 115,102.
From the evening of the 26th, when Jackson attacked his right, and threatened his communications by the Pamunkey river, Gen. McClellan states that "every energy of the army was bent" to the end of "an immediate change of base across the Peninsula." The Rebel Gen. D. H. Hill had gone out from Richmond with his command that day, over Meadow Bridge, to form a junction with Jackson, who was approaching by way of Ashland and Hanover Court House. At about 3 o'clock P. M., Hill attacked McCall, at Mechanicsville, and