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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 1 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 32 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

also have eighteen cannon on the road to Harper's Ferry, of which arm there not a single one at that point. This is now our situation.

If McDowell's force was now beyond our reach we should be entirely helpless. Apprehensions of something like this, and no unwillingness to sustain you, have always been my reason for withholding McDowell's from you. Please understand this, and do the best you can with the forces you have.

A. LINCOLN,

President.

Major-General McCLELLAN.

On the 25th the following we also received:

WASHINGTON, May 25, 1862-2 p.m.

The enemy is moving north in sufficient force to drive General Banks before him-precisely in what force we cannot tell. He is also threatening Leesburg, and Geary, in the Manassas Gap Railroad, from both north and south - in precisely what force we cannot tell. I think the movement is a general and concerted one, such as would not be if he was acting upon the purpose of a very desperate defense of Richmond. I think the time is near when you must either attack Richmond or give up the job and come to the defense of Washington. Let me hear from you instantly.

A. LINCOLN,

President.

Major-General McCLELLAN.

To which I replied as follows:

COLD HARBOR, Mary 25, 1862.

Telegram received. Independently of it, the time is very near when I shall attack Richmond. The object of the movement is probably to prevent re-enforcements being sent to me. All the information obtained from balloons, deserters, prisoners, and contrabands agrees in the statement that the mass of the rebel troops are still in the immediate vicinity of Richmond, ready to defend it. I have no knowledge of Banks' position and force now what there is at Manassas; therefore cannot form a definite opinion as to the force against him.

I have two corps across Chickahominy, within 6 miles of Richmond; the others on this side at other crossing within same distance, and ready to cross when bridges are completed.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President.

On the 26th I received the following:

WASHINGTON, May 26, 1862-12.40 a.m.

We have General Banks' official report. He has saved his army baggage and has made a safe retreat to the river, and is probably safe at Williamsport. He reports the attacking force at 15,000.

A. LINCOLN,

President.

Major-General McCLELLAN.

On the 26th I received the following:

WASHINGTON, May 26, 1862.

Can you not cut the Aquia Creek Railroad? Also, what impression have you as to intrenched works for you to contend with in front of Richmond? Can you get near enough to throw shells into the city?

A. LINCOLN,

President.

Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN.

On the same day I sent the following:

COLD HARBOR, May 26, 1862.

Have cut the Virginia Central Road in three places between Hanover Court-House and the Chickahominy. Will try to cut the other. I do not think Richmond intrenchments formidable, but am not certain. Hope very soon to be within shelling distance.


Page 32 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 1 (Peninsular Campaign)
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