by to-day's mail will show positions. Made reconnaissance as far as Meadow Bridge this morning. Found the enemy quiet, but in force. Some firing and skirmishing near here to-day; amounts to nothing. Weather now good. Roads and ground rapidly drying.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
June 12, 1862. (Received June 13-1 p.m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
In your telegrams respecting re-enforcements you inform me that General McDowell, with the residue of his command, will proceed overland to join me before Richmond. I beg leave to suggest that the destruction of the railroad bridges by flood and fire cannot probably be remedied under four weeks; that an attempt to employ wagon transportation must involve great delay and may be found very difficult of accomplishment. An extension of my right wing to meet him may involve serious hazard to my flank and my line of communications, and may not suffice to rescue from any peril in which a strong movement of the enemy may involve him. I would advise that his forces be sent by water. Even a portion thus sent would, by reason of greater expedition and security and less complications of my movements, probably be more serviceable in the operations before Richmond. The road throughout the region between the Rappahannock and the James cannot be relied upon and may become execrable even should they be in their best condition. The junction of his force with the extension of my right flank cannot be made without derangement of my plans, and if my recent experience in moving troops be indicative of the difficulties incident to McDowell's march, the exigencies of my present position will not admit of the delay.
I have ordered back all the transports used in bringing McCall's division, that they may be ready for service if you deem it best to employ water transportation. I have to-day moved my headquarters across the Chickahominy to a central position, so that I can readily reach any point of attack or advance. The enemy are massing their troops near our front, throwing up earthworks on all the approaches to Richmond, and giving every indication of fight.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, THIRD CORPS, June 12, 1862.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Corps:
SIR: In answer to all queries as to my position, I have this moment returned from a thorough examination of the same. I can assure the general that it is complete, easily defended with my two brigades, and fulfills all his desires.
15 R R-VOL XI, PT III