sent forward to Washington upon some safe principle of discrimination, so as to avoid the otherwise necessary expenditures?
N. P. BANKS,
Major-General, Commanding Division.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, February 14, 1862.
Brigadier General W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding Department of Western Virginia:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 7th is received. The general idea of your proposed march is an excellent one, but allow me to suggest for your consideration a modification.
I have reason to believe that there is a fair pike leading from Prestonburg, Ky., to Abingdon, the usual road followed by drovers, &c., the distance between the two points being about 70 miles in a right line, and the Sandy being navigable to Prestonburg nearly all the year. If this be so, this line would seem to present the most favorable chance, and the operation could be conducted with wagons several weeks earlier than would be practicable by the route you suggest.
I would be glad to have you take this matter into consideration and inform me of the conclusions at which you arrive.
In haste, very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army..
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Washington, February 15, 1862.
From the information received here as to the strength of the enemy at Romney, and from the fact that he is establishing a telegraph line between Winchester and Romney, it is supposed that he is determined to hold that place at all hazards.
Under these circumstances the Commanding General desires me to enjoin the utmost causation upon you in your movements. As you are on the spot you can better see how favorable the occasion may be for a contest with the enemy than the Commanding General, but no desperate risks are to be incurred, no uncertainty of result to be hazarded. The General's designs are not such as to include any unnecessary hazard at this moment.
By command of Major-General McClellan:
JAS. A. HARDIE,
FEBRUARY 15, 1862-9.45 p.m .
Brigadier General R. B. MARCY,.
Chief of Staff:
It is out of the question to make the attack to-night. It is not yet reported to me that the boats from Baltimore have arrived. In other respects I am not ready. I must point out to two or three of my colonels from this shore my plan of attack, and must have daylight