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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 and Nebraska 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 from California, 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 ns—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 descendents?
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, Savannah, Montgomery, Pensacola, Mobile 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 clinical ties 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.
Geo. B. Mcclellan,
I do not think the events of the war have proved these views upon the method and plans of its conduct altogether incorrect. They certainly have not proved my estimate of the number of troops and scope of operations too large. It is probable that I did underestimate .the time necessary for the completion of arms and equipments. It was not strange, however, that by many civilians intrusted with authority there should have been an exactly opposite opinion held on both these particulars.
The result of the first battle of Manassas had been almost to destroy the morale and organization of our army, and to alarm government and people. The national capital was in danger; it was necessary, besides holding the enemy in check, to build works for its defence, strong and capable of being held by a small force.
It was necessary also to create a new army for active operations and to expedite its organization, equipment, and the accumulation of the material of war, and to this not inconsiderable labor all my energies for the next three months were constantly devoted.
Time is a necessary element in the creation of armies, and I do not, therefore, think it necessary to more than mention the impatience with which many regarded the delay in the arrival of new levies, though recruited and pressed forward with unexampled rapidity, the manufacture and supply of arms and equipments, or the vehemence with which an immediate advance upon the enemy's works directly in our front was urged by a patriotic but sanguine people.
The President, too, was anxious for the speedy employment of our army, and, although possessed of my plans through frequent conferences, desired a paper from me upon the condition of the forces under my commaud and the immediate measures to be taken to increase their efficiency. Accordingly, in the latter part of October I addressed the following letter to the Secretary of War:
Sir: In conformity with a personal understanding with the President yesterday, I have the honor to submit the following statement of the condition of the army under my command, and the measures required for the preservation of the government and the suppression of the rebellion.
It will be remembered that in a memorial I had the honor to address to the President soon after my arrival in Washington, and in my communication addressed to Lieutenant General Scott, under date of 8th of August; in my letter to the President authorizing him, at his request, to withdraw the letter written by me to General Scott; and in my letter of the 8th of September, answering your note of inquiry of that date, my views on the same subject are frankly and fully expressed.
In these several communications I have stated the force I regarded as necessary to enable this army to advance with a reasonable certainty of success, at the same time leaving the capital and the line of the Potomac sufficiently guarded, not only to secure the retreat of the main army, in the event of disaster, but to render it out of the enemy's power to attempt a diversion in Maryland.
So much time has passed, and the winter is approaching so rapidly, that but two courses are left to the government, viz., either to go into winter quarters or to assume the offensive with forces greatly inferior in numbers to the army I regarded as desirable and necessary. If political considerations render the first course unadvisable, the second alone remains. While I regret that it has not been deemed expedient, or perhaps possible, to concentrate the forces of the nation in this vicinity, (remaining on the defensive elsewhere), keeping the attention and efforts of the government fixed upon this as the vital point, where the issue of the great contest is to be decided, it may still be that, by introducing unity of action and design among the various armies of the land, by determining the courses to be pursued by the various commanders under one general plan, transferring from the other armies the superfluous strength not required for the purpose in view, and thus reenforcing this main army, whose destiny it i3 to decide the controversy, we may yet be able to move with a reasonable prospect of success before the winter is fairly upon us.
The nation feels, and I share that feeling, that the amy of the Potomac holds the fate of the country in its hands.
The stake is so vast, the issue so momentous, and the effect of the next battle will be so important throughout the future, as well as the present, that I continue to urge, as I have ever done since I entered upon the command of this army, upon the government to devote its energies and its available resources towards increasing the numbers and efficiency of the army on which its salvation depends.
A statement, carefully prepared by the chiefs of engineers and artillery of this army, gives us the necessary garrison ol this city and its fortifications, 33,795 men—say 35,000.
The present garrison of Baltimore and its dependencies is about 10,00Q. I have sent the chief of my staff to make a careful examination into the condition of these troops, and to obtain the information requisite to enable me to decide whether this number can be diminished, or the reverse.
At least 5,000. men will be required to watch the river hence to Harper's Ferry and its vicinity; probably 8,000 to guard the lower Potomac.
As you are aware, all the information we have from spies, prisoners, <fcc, agrees in showing that the enemy have a force on the Potomac not less than 150,000 strong, well drilled and equipped, ably commanded and strongly intrenched. It is plain, therefore, that to insure success, or to render it reasonably certain, the active army should not number less than 150,000 efficient troops, with 400 guns, unless some
material change occurs in the force in front of us.
The requisite force for an advance movement by the army of the Potomac may be thus estimated:
Column of active operations 150,000 men, 400 guns.
Garrison of the city of Washington 85,000 " 40"
To guard the Potomac to Harper's Ferry 5,000 " 12"
To guard the lower Potomac 8,000 " 24 t4
Garrison for Uaitimore and Annapolis 10,000 *' 12 4t
Total effective force required, 208,000 m-?n, 488 guns,
or an aggregate, present and absent, of about 240,000 men, should the losses by sickness, <fcc, not rise to a higher percentage than at present.
Having stated what I regard as the requisite force to enable this army to advance, I now proceed to give the actual strength of the army of the Potomac.
The aggregate strength. of the army of the Potomac, by the official report on the morning of the 27th instant, was 168,318 officers and men, of all grades and arms. This includes the troops at Baltimore and Annapolis, on the upper and lower Potomac, the sick, absent, &c.
The force present for duty was 147,695. Of this number, 4,268 cavalry were completely unarmed, 3,163 cavalry only partially armed, 5,979 infantry unequipped, making 13,410 unfit for the field, (irrespective of those not yet sufficiently drilled), and reducing the effective force to 134,285, and the number disposable for an advance to 76,285. The infantry regiments are, to a considerable extent, armed with unserviceable weapons. Quite a large number of good arms, which had been intended for this army, wrere ordered elsewhere, leaving the army of the Potomac insufficiently, and, in some cases, badly armed. n
On the 30th of September there were with this army 228 field guns ready for the field; so far as arms and equipments are concerned, some of the batteries are still quite raw, and unfit to go into action. I have intelligence that eight New York batteries are en route hither; two others are ready for the field. I will still (if the New York batteries have six guns each) be 112 guns short of the number required for the active column, saying nothing, for the present, of those necessary for the garrisons and corps on the Potomac, which would make a total deficiency of 200 guns.
I have thus briefly stated our present condition and wants; it remains to suggest the means of supplying the deficiencies.
First, that all the cavalry and infantry arms, as fast as procured, whether manufactured in this country or purchased abroad, be sent to this army until it is fully prepared for the field.
Second, that the two companies of the fourth artillery, now understood to be en route from Fort Randall to Fort Monroe, be ordered to this army, to be mounted at once; also, that the companies of the third artillery, en route from California, be sent here. Had not the order for Smead's battery to come here from Harrisburg, to replace the battery I gave General Sherman, been so often countermanded. I would a.<?ain ask for it.
Third, that a more effective regulation may be made authorizing the transfer of men from the volunteers to the regular batteries, infantry and cavalry j that we may make the best possible use oi the invaluable regular "skeletons."
Fourth, I have no official information as to the United States forces elsewhere; but from the best information I can obtain from the War Department and other sources, I am led to believe that the United States troops are:
In Western Virginia, about 80,000
In Kentucky 40,000
In Missouri 80,000
In Fortress Monroe 11,000
Total . . -. 161,000
esides these, I am informed that more than 100,000 re in progress of organization in other northern and western States.
I would, therefore, recommend that, not interfering with Kentucky, there should be retained in Western Virginia and Missouri a sufficient force for defensive purposes, and that the surplus troops be sent to the army of the Potomac, to enable it to assume the offensive j that the same course be pursued in respect to Fortress Monroe, and that no further outside expeditions be attempted until we have fought the great battle in front of us.
Fifth, that every nerve be strained to hasten the enrolment, organization and armament of new batteries and regiments of infantry.
Sixth, that all the battalions now raised for new regiments of regular infantry be at once ordered to this army, and that the old infantry and cavalry en route from California be ordered to this army immediately on their arrival in New York.
I have thus indicated, in a general manner, the objects to be accomplished, and the means by which we may gain our ends.
A vigorous employment of these means will, in my opinion, enable the army of the Potomac to assume successfully this season the offensive operations which, ever since entering upon the command, it has been my anxious desire and diligent effort to prepare for and prosecute. The advance should not be postponed beyond the 25th of November, if possible to avoid it.
Unity in councils, the utmost vigor and energy in action are indispensable. The entire military field should be grasped as a whole, and not in detached parts.
One plan should be agreed upon and pureued,\ a single will should direct and carry out these plans.
The great object to be accomplished, the crushing defeat of the rebel army (now) at Manassas, should never for one instant be lost' sight of, but all the intellect and means and men of the government poured upon that point. The loyal States possess ample force to effect all this and more. The rebels have displayed energy, unanimity and wisdom worthy of the most desperate days of the French revolution. Should we do less?
The unity of this nation, the preservation of our institutions, are so dear to me that I have willingly sacrificed my private happiness with the single object of doing my duty to my country. When the task is accomplished, I shall be
glad to return to the obscurity from which events have drawn me.
Whatever the determination of the government may be, I will do the best I can with the army of the Potomac, and will share its fate, whatever may be the task imposed upon me.
Permit me to add that, on this occassion as heretofore, it has been my aim neither to exaggerate nor underrate the power of the enemy, nor fail to express clearly the means by which, in my judgment, that power may be broken. Urging the energy of preparation and action, which has ever been my choice, but with the fixed purpose by no act of mine to expose the government to hazard by premature movement, and requesting that this communication may be laid before the President,
I have the honor to be, va ^ respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. B. Mcclellan,
Hon. Simon Cameron,
Secretary of War.
When I assumed command in Washington, on the 27th of July, 1861, the number of troops in and around the city was about 50,000 infantry, less than 1,000 cavalry, and 650 artillerymen, with nine imperfect field batteries of thirty pieces.
On the Virginia bank of the Potomac the brigade organization of General McDowell still existed, and the troops were stationed at and in rear of Fort Corcoran, Arlington, and Fort Albany, at Fort Runyan, Roach's Mills, Cole's Mills, and in the vickiity of Fort Ellsworth, with a detachment at the Theological Seminary.
There were no troops south of Hunting creek, and many of the regiments were encamped on the low grounds bordering the Potomac, seldom in the best positions for defence, and entirely inadequate in numbers and condition to defend the long line from Fort Corcoran to Alexandria.
On the Maryland side of* the river, upon the heights overlooking the Chain bridge, two regiments were stationed, whose commanders were independent of each, other.
There were no troops on the important Tenallytown road, or on the roads entering the city from the South.
The camps were located without regard to purposes of defence or instruction, the roads were not picketed, and there was no attempt at an organization into brigades.
In no quarter were the dispositions for defence such as to offer a vigorous resistance to a respectable body of the enemy, either in the position and numbers of the troons, or the number and character of the defensive works. Earthworks, in the nature oi tetes de poht, looked upon the approaches to the Georgetown aqueduct and ferry, the Long bridge and Alexandria, by the Little river turnpike, and some simple defensive arrangements were made at the Chain bridge. With the latter exception, not a single defensive work had been commenced on the Maryland side.
There was nothing to prevent the enemy shelling the city from heights within easy range, which could be occupied by a hostile column almost without resistance. Many soldiers had deserted, and the streets of "Washington were crowded with straggling officers and men, absent from their stations without authority, whose behavior indicated the general want of discipline and organization.
I at once designated an efficient staff, afterwards adding to it as opportunity was afforded and necessity required, who zealously co-operated with me in the labor of bringing *rder out of confusion, re-assigning troops and commands, projecting and throwing up defensive works, receiving and organizing, equipping and providing for the new levies arriving in the city.
The valuable services of these officers in their various departments, during this and throughout the subsequent periods of the history of the army of the Potomac, can hardly be sufficiently appreciated. Their names and duties will be given in another part of this report, and they are commended to the favorable notice of the War Department.
The restoration of order in the city of Washington was effected through the appointment of a provost marshal, whose authority was supported by the few regular troops within my command. These troops were thus in position to act as a reserve, to be sent to any point of attack where their services might be most wanted. The energy and ability displayed by Colonel A. Porter, the provost marshal, and his assistants, and the strict discharge of their duty by the troops, produced the best results, and Washington soon became one of the most quiet cities in the Union.
The new levies of infantry, upon arriving in Washington, were formed into provisional brigades and placed in camp in the suburbs of the city for equipment, instruction, and discipline. As soon as raiments were in a fit condition for transfer tr the forces across the Potomac, they were assigned to the brigades serving there. Brigadier General F. J. Porter was at first assigned to the charge of the provisional brigades. Brigadier General A. E. Burnside was the next officer assigned this duty, from which, however, he was soon relieved by Brigadier General S. Casey, who continued in charge of the newly arriving regiments until the army of the Potomac departed for the Peninsula, in March, 1862. The newly arriving artillery troops reported to Brigadier General William F. Barry, the chief of artillery, and the caValry to Brigadier General George Stoneman, the chief of cavalry.
By the 15th of October, the number of troops in and about Washington, inclusive of the garrison of the city and Alexandria, the city guard and the forces on the Maryland shore of the Potomac below Washington, and as far as Cumberland above, the troops under the command of General Dix, at Baltimore and its dependencies were as follows:
Total present for duty 188,201
•* sick 9,290
"in confinement 1,156
Aggregate present 148,647
Grand aggregate 152,051
The following table exhibits similar data for the periods stated, including the troops in Maryland and Delaware:
REPORT OF GENERAL GEORGE B. M'CLELLAN,
In organizing the army of the Potomac, and preparing it. for the field, the first step taken was to organize the infantry into brigades of four regiments each; retaining the newly arrived regiments on the Maryland side until their armament and equipment were issued and they had obtained some little elementary instruction, before assigning them permanently to brigades. When the organization of the brigades was well established, and the troops somewhat disciplined and instructed, divisions of three brigades each were gradually formed, as is elsewhere stated in this report, although I was always in favor of the organization into army corps as an abstract principle. I did not desire to form them until the army had been for some little time in the field, in order to enable the general officers first to acquire the requisite experience as division commanders on active service, and that I might be able to decide from actual trial who were best fitted to exercise these important commands.
For a similar reason I carefully abstained from making any recommendations for the promotion of officers to the grade of major general.
When new batteries of artillery arrived they also were retained in Washington until their armament and equipment were completed, and their instruction sufficiently advanced to justify their being assigned to divisions. The same course was pursued in regard to cavalry. I regret that circumstances have delayed the chief of cavalry, General George Stoneman, in furnishing his report upon the organization of that arm of service. It will, however, be forwarded as soon as completed, and will, doubtless, show that the difficult and important duties intrusted to him were efficiently performed. He encountered and overcame, as far as it was possible, continual and vexatious obstacles arising from the great deficiency of cavalry arms and equipments, and the entire inefficiency of many of the regimental officers first appointed; this last difficulty was, to a considerable extent, overcome in the cavalry, as well as in the infantry and artillery, by the continual and prompt action of courts-martial and boards of examination.
As rapidly as circumstances permitted, every cavalry soldier was armed with a sabre and revolver, and at least two squadrons in every regiment with carbines.
It was intended to assign at least one regiment of cavalry to each division of the active army, besides forming a cavalry reserve of the regular regiments and some picked regiments of volunteer cavalry. Circumstances beyond my control rendered it impossible to carry out this intention fully, and the cavalry force serving with the army in the field was never as large as it ought to have been.
It was determined to collect the regular infantry to form the nucleus of a reserve. The advantage of such a body of troops at a critical moment, especially in an army constituted mainly of new levies, imperfectly disciplined, has been frequently illustrated in military history, and was brought to the attention of the country at the first battle of Manassas. I" have not been disappointed in the estimate formed of the value of these troops. I have always found them to be relied on. "Whenever they have been brought under fire they have shown the utmost gallantry and tenacity.!
The regular infantry, which had been collected from distant posts and which had been recruited as rapidly as the slow progress of recruiting for the regular service would allow, added to the small battalion with McDowell's army, which I found at Washington on my arrival, amounted, on the 30th of August, to 1,040 men; on the 28th of February, 1862, to 2,682, and on the 30th of April, to 4,603. On the 17th of May, 1862, they were assigned to General Porter's corps for organization as a division, with the fifth regiment New York volunteers, which joined May 4, and the tenth New York volunteers, which joined subsequently. They remained from the commencement under the command of Brigadier General George Sykes, major third infantry United States army.
The creation of an adequate artillery establishment for an army of so large proportions was a formidable undertaking; and had it not been that the country possessed in the regular service a body of accomplished and energetic artillery officers, the task would have been almost hopeless.
The charge of organizing this most important arm was confided to Major (afterwards Brigadier General) William F. Barry, chief of artillery, whose industry and zeal achieved the best results. The report of General Barry is appended among the accompanying documents. By referring to it, it will be observed that the following principles were ^adopted as the basis of organization:
"1. That the proportion of artillery should be in the proportion of at least two and onehalf pieces to 1,000 men, to be expanded, if possible, to three pieces to 1,000 men.
"2. That the proportion of rifled gpms should be restricted to the system of the United States ordnance department; and of Parrott and the l smooth bores' (with the exception of a few howitzers fbr special- service) to be exclusively the twelve-pounder gun, of the model of 1867, variously called the c gun-howitzer,' the 'light twelve-pounder,' or the i Napoleon.'
"3. That each field battery should, if practicable, be composed of six guns, and none to be less than four guns, and in all cases the guns of each battery should be of uniform calibre.
a4. That the field batteries were to be assigned to divisions, and not to brigades, and in the proportion of four to each division, of which one was to be a battery of regulars, the remainder of volunteers, the captain of the regular battery to be commandant of artillery of the division. In the event of several divisions constituting an army corps, at least one-half the divisional artillery was to constitute the reserve artillery of the corps.
"5. That the artillery reserve of the whole army should consist of one hundred guns, and should comprise, besides a sufficient number of light 'mounted batteries,' all the guns of position, and until the cavalry were massed, all the horse artillery.
"6. That the amount of amunition to accompany field batteries was not to be less than four hundred rounds per ^un.
Ci7. A siege train of lifcy pieces. This was subsequently expanded Vor special service at