in greater need of troops to keep Norfolk than he will to sustain himself at West Point and Yorktown, with gunboats to support him. If I had as many troops as the general, I would not ask for more. I would march and take Richmond, which I have no doubt General McClellan will do. The forces of the rebels are by no means equal to his. Deserters and contrabands from Richmond say the rebel army is leaving Richmond. They are, at least most of them, pressed into the army against their will, and not to be relied on in time of need. I cannot spare General McClellan a regiment. He does not want it.
JOHN. E. WOOL,
NAVY DEPARTMENT, May 24, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: The rebels having left the navy-yard at Gosport, this Department, with a view of securing and preserving the public property pertaining to the Navy, which is exposed and deteriorating, ordered Commander John W. Livingston to repair thither and take charge of the same. I have also directed a carpenter, machinist, and others to report to him for duty. Laborers have also been ordered to service under his supervision.
As usual, a marine force was detailed for the ordinary police and military duty at the yard, but I am informed by a dispatch from Flag-Officer Goldsborough that General Wool refuses to allow the Navy to Take possession of the navy-yard without orders from the President or Secretary of War.
I would therefore respectfully request that you give the necessary order to General Wool to deliver to Flag-Officer Goldsborough possession of the yard and naval property.
[Secretary of the Navy.]
McCLELLAN'S HEADQUARTERS, May 24, 1862.
Telegram of 4 p. m. received.* I will make my calculations accordingly.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
No. 156. Camp near Cold Harbor, May 24, 1862.
* * * * * * * * *
IV. Brigadier General D. E. Sickles having reported to the commanding general, in pursuance of instructions from the War Department, will report to Brigadier General Joseph Hooker for the command of the Second Brigade of his division, Thirds Corps.
V. Brigadier General J. J. Abercrombie is relieved from the command of the
* See Part I, p.30.