Column of active operations .............. 150,000 400
Garrison of the city of Washington ....... 35,000 40
To guard the Potomac to Harper's Ferry ... 5,000 12
To guard the Lower Potomac ............... 8,000 24
Garrison for Baltimore and Annapolis ..... 10,000 12
Total effective force required ........... 208,000 488
or an aggregate, present and absent, of about 240,000 men, should the losses by sickness, &c., not rise to a higher percentage than at present.
Having stated what I regard as the requisite force to enable this army to advance, I now proceed to give the actual strength of the Army of the Potomac. The aggregate strength of the Army of the Potomac, by the official report on the morning of the 27th instant, was 168,318 officers and men of all grades and arms. This includes the troops at Baltimore and Annapolis, on the Upper and Lower Potomac, the sick, absent, &c. The force present for duty was 147,695. Of this number 4,268 cavalry were completely unarmed, 3,163 cavalry only partially armed, 5,979 infantry unequipped, making 13,410 unfit for the field (irrespective of those not yet sufficiently drilled), and reducing the effective force to 134,285, and the number of disposable for an advance to 76,285. The infantry regiments are, to a considerable extent, armed with unserviceable weapons. Quite a large number of good arms, which had been intended for this army, were ordered elsewhere, leaving the Army of the Potomac insufficiently and, in some cases, badly armed. On the 30th of September there were with this army 228 field guns ready for the field. So far as arms and equipments are concerned, some of the batteries are still quite raw, and unfit to go into action. I have intelligence that eight New York batteries are en route hither; two others are ready for the field. I will still (if the New York batteries have six guns each) be 112 guns short of the number required for the active column, saying nothing for the present of those necessary for the garrisons and corps on the Potomac, which would make a total deficiency of 200 guns.
I have thus briefly stated our present condition and wants. It remain to suggest the means of supplying the deficiencies:
First. That all the cavalry and infantry arms, as fast as procured, whether manufactured in this country or purchased abroad, be sent to this army until it is fully prepared for the field.
Second. That the two companies of the Fourth Artillery, now understood to be en route from Fort Randall to Fort Monroe, be ordered to this army, to be mounted at once; also that the companies of the Third Artillery, en route from California, be sent here. Had not the order for Smead's battery to come here from Harrisburg to replace the battery I gave General Sherman been as often countermanded, I would again ask for it.
Third. That a more effective regulation may be made authorizing the transfer of men from the volunteers to the regular batteries, infantry and cavalry, that we may make the best possible use of the invaluable regular "skeletons."
Fourth. I have no official information as to the United States forces elsewhere, but from the best information I can obtain from the War Department and other sources I am led to believe that the United States troops are:
In Western Virginia, about ................ 30,000
In Kentucky ........................................... 40,000
In Missouri ........................................... 80,000
In Fortress Monroe ........................ 11,000
Besides these, I am informed that more than 100,000 are in progress of organization in other Northern and Western States.
I would, therefore, recommend that, not interfering with Kentucky, there should be retained in Western Virginia and Missouri a sufficient force for defensive purposes, and that the surplus troops be sent to the Army of the Potomac, to enable it to assume the offensive; that the same course be pursued in respect to Fortress Monroe, and that no further outside expeditions be attempted until we have fought the great battle in front of us.
Fifth. That every nerve be strained to hasten the enrollment, organization, and armament of new batteries and regiments of infantry.
Sixth. That all the battalions now raised for new regiments of regular infantry be at once ordered to this army, and that the old infantry and cavalry en route from California be ordered to this army immediately on their arrival in New York.
I have thus indicated in a general manner the objects to be accomplished and the means by which we may gain our ends. A vigorous employment of these means will, in my opinion, enable the Army of the Potomac to assume successfully this season the offensive operations which, ever since entering upon the command, it has been