War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0713 Chapter XIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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Memorandum accompanying letter of President to General McClellan dated February 3, 1862.*

1st. Suppose the enemy should attack us in force before we reach the Occoquan, what? In view of the possibility of this, might it not be safest to have our entire force to move together from above the Occoquan?

2nd. Suppose the enemy in force shall dispute the crossing of the Occoquan, what? In view of this, might it not be safest fore us to cross the Occuquan at Colchester rather than at the village of Occoquan? This would cost the enemy two miles more of travel to meet us, but would, on the contrary, leave us 2 miles farther form our ultimate destination.

3rd. Suppose we reach Maple Valley without an attack, will we not be attacked there in force by the enemy marching by the several roads from Manassas; and, if so, what?


General S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: In obedience to your instructions, I have the honor to inclose a tabulated report of the sick in the several divisions and brigades of the Army of the Potomac as far as the returns in this office will enable me to do so.

I have to observe that these tables show the whole number of sick in the regiments, whether in quarters or hospital, as reported by the medical officers. Of the men thus reported, more than one-half are affected with trivial complaints, that could scarcely justify their being left behind in case the army should be put in motion.

In the cavalry regiments the sick report is swollen considerably in consequence of injuries to the men received from the horses. A very considerable item in many of the regiments is due to the number of men waiting discharges in consequence of disqualification from old physical infirmities.

Among the regular troops the sick report is seriously increased by the number of venereal cases, some of which were received from California; others contracted here.

Measles, which seems to be scourging the whole Army of the United States, still breaks out from time to time in different regiments. Berdan's Sharpshooters have been and are still severely affected with that disease. If is hoped that hospital and field arrangements already made and in progress will soon abate this evil. It will be perceived that among the Vermont troops in Brooks' brigade there is a wide difference in the ratio of sick between the Second and Third Regiments and the other three. I have already endeavored to give some explanation of this is in a former report. I have now to state that I have sent a large detachment of convalescents to Philadelphia in order to make room for the sick of this brigade in the general hospitals, in hopes some beneficial effect may result to the well from removing the sick from their sight, thus avoiding the depressing influence of the daily observation of so much sickness among their comrades.


*See p. 41.