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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 21, Part 1 (Fredericksburg)
Page 86 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

large bodies of troops at that place. It was afterward ascertained that they could not have crossed.

On my arrival at Falmouth, on the 19th, I dispatched to General Halleck's chief of staff the report in appendix, marked C, which explains the movement of troops up to that date, and also states the fact of the non-arrival of the pontoon train. These pontoon trains and supplies, which were expected to meet us on our arrival at Falmouth, could have been readily moved overland in time for our purposes in perfect safety, as they would have all the time been between our army and the Potomac River; and, had they started from Washington at the promised time, they would have certainly reached Stafford Court-House as soon as the advance of General Franklin's grand division, and from that point they could have been forwarded by his teams to Falmouth, if the teams from Washington had needed rest.

On the 22d, not hearing from these trains, I sent to General Halleck the report in appendix marked D. It appeared afterward that no supplies had been started overland, as suggested in my plan of operations, and the pontoon train did not leave Washington until the afternoon of the 19th, two days after the arrival of the advance of the army at Falmouth, and five days after of the pontoons in Washington from the Upper Potomac.

From the report of Colonel Spaulding, who had charge of the pontoons, and from other sources of information, I learned that the order of November 6, from Captain Duane, of the staff of General McClellan, to move from Berlin to Washington with his train, was not received by Colonel Spaulding until the 12th instant; that he then at once gave the necessary directions for carrying out this order; after which he proceeded to Washington, arriving there at 10.30 p.m. on the 13th, and reported to General Woodbury, at his residence in the city, the same night, and was requested to call at the general's office the next morning, the 14th.

Colonel Spaulding called upon General Woodbury at the hour appointed on the morning of the 14th, and was requested by the general to wait until he called upon General Halleck. In about one hour General Woodbury returned, and directed Colonel Spaulding to put his pontoon material in depot at the brigade shops, on the Anacostia River, near Washington, as fast as it arrived from Berlin, and go into camp there with his men. The colonel considered this as countermanding his order to make up the overland pontoon train, and, knowing that General McClellan had been relieved after the order had been issued, inferred that the plan for the campaign had been changed with the change of commanders, and that the land train was not required.

He visited General Woodbury's office again on the morning of the 15th, and did not find him in, but was informed that he had gone to see General Halleck; but, while waiting for his return, was told that a dispatch had been received from Lieutenant Comstock, my chief engineer, wishing to know if he [Colonel Spaulding], with his pontoon train, had been heard from. After some time, General Woodbury came in, and, in the course of conversation, repeated the order to put the pontoon trains in depot as fast as they arrived. It should be remembered that this was on the 15th, one pontoon train, which would have been sufficient for our purposes, having arrived in Washington on the evening of the 14th. The second train arrived the day after this interview. Later on this day [the 15th], or the day after, General Woodbury directed Colonel Spaulding to make up two trains in rafts to go by water, and to organize the necessary transportation for forty pontoons by land.

Due diligence was no doubt used by Colonel Spaulding in prosecuting


Page 86 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 21, Part 1 (Fredericksburg)
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