War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0709 Chapter XIV. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

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3rd. Portable camp equipage, such as was determined upon by the Major-General Commanding last summer.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

IRWIN McDOWELL,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.

HEADQUARTERS HOOKER'S DIVISION, Camp Baker, Lower Potomac, Maryland, January 27, 1862.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: I have already acknowledged your communication of the 20th instant.*

Form the most reliable information received from others, and from my own personal observation, I am of opinion that the mode to attack the rebels productive of the great results will be to commence on the left of my line at Aquia Creek with one brigade, on the following morning to assault their batteries in front with two columns of a regiment each, and the day following with as much of my division as I can cross; land at or near the rebel batteries planted to dispute the passage of the Occoquan, and open the doors for Heitzelman to cross that river.

My reasons for preferring to commence on the left are that at Liverpool Point I can embark the necessary force without exposing my object, can move to the point of landing without being observed, and can destroy their batteries and dept before it will be in their power to parry the blow, except with the force now in that vicinity. The effect of this on my command will be to inspire confidence. On the enemy, it will deprive a portion of them of their depot of supplies; with the balance it will threaten their communication with Richmond, and if it does not put some of them en route, and their roads resemble ours, will compel their regiments to locate nearer their new depots.

The primary object in delivering an attack on my immediately front I consider should be to destroy the batteries, in order to give us the free use of the river, and not to give battle; for there are other fields equally accessible, affording grater advantages. It proximity to the masses of the enemy is a great objection to our attempting to cross the more chances of success lower down the river, and when once there the enemy will be more or less crippled form the condition of the country as it regards to difficultly of moving artillery and trains. They must move, for they must protect their communication to the rear.

It is recommended that the assault be made in two column, for the reason that Quantico Creek divides the batteries and is not fordable below Dumfries, and to attempt to turn in would force us into an engagement under disadvantageous circumstances. Finally, I consider that the possession of that bank of the river, leaving out of consideration the batteries, affords neither army any particular advantages./

With regard to the movement to relieve Heintzelman and its consequences, it is open to the objection of proximity to the rebels; but, considering its advantages, as they are presented to one not at all acquainted with the views and intentions of the Major-General Command-

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*Not found.

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