killed and a few wounded. General Bayard lost 7 of his men, captured through the carelessness of an officer, who is now in arrest. All the wagons and public property have arrived.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
General G. W. CULLUM, Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 22, 1862.
GENERAL: By reference to my plan of operations, submitted by order of the Commander-in-Chief, it will be found that one of the necessary parts of that plan was to have started from Washington at once pontoon trains sufficient to span the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg twice; and I was assured that at least one train would leave as soon as the General-in-Chief and General Meigs returned; and I proposed that if an escort was required and I was informed of the department of the train by telegraph, I would furnish it from my cavalry. Receiving no information of its departure, I ordered Lieutenant Comstock to telegraph in reference to it. It is very clear that my object was to make the move to Fredericksburg very rapidly, and to throw a heavy force across the river before the enemy could concentrate a force to oppose the crossing and supposed the pontoon train would arrive at this place nearly simultaneously with the head of the column. Had that been the case, the whole of General Sumner's column-33,000 strong-would have crossed into Fredericksburg at once over a pontoon bridge, in front of a city filled with families of rebel officers and sympathizers with the rebel cause, and garrisoned by a small squadron of cavalry and a battery of artillery which General Sumner silenced within an hour after his arrival
Had the pontoon bridge arrived even on the 19th or 20th, the army could have crossed with trifling opposition. But now the opposite side of the river is occupied by a large rebel force under General Longstreet, with batteries ready to be placed in position to operate against the working parties building the bridge and the troops in crossing.
The pontoon train has not yet arrived, and the river is too high for the troops to cross at any of the fords.
You can readily see that much delay may occur in the general movement, and I deem it my duty to lay these facts before you, and to say that I cannot make the promise of probable success with the faith that I did when I supposed that all the parts of the plan would be carried out. Another very material part of the proposition, which I understand to be approved as a whole, was that all the surplus wagons that were in Washington were to be loaded with bread and small commissary stores and sent to this place at once, which would probably have supplied our army with from five to ten days' provisions.
These trains could have moved with perfect safety, as they would have been protected by the movements of this army. I do not recall these facts in any captious spirit, by simply to impress upon the General-in-Chief that he cannot expect me to do as much as if all the parts of the plan had been carried out. In fact, a force can be arrayed against us at this place that would very materially retard us.
The work of the quartermaster's and commissary departments at Aquia Creek, or Belle Plain, has been most completely accomplished, and