and the Fifth Massachusetts Light Battery, in all about 1,900 men. General Phelps' command landed and occupied Ship Is and on the 5th to the 7th of December, and has since been fortifying itself there; a very proper measure, as it enables the Government to hold a very important point, interrupting a part of the communications of the rebels. General Phelp's command is the only part of General Butler's expedition that has so far gone to the Guld coast.
The great points from which important operations are to be conducted are, first, the Department of the Potomac, in front of which is posted and strongly entrenched the largess and best body of the insurgents guarding the approach to Richmond; second, the Department of the Ohio, opposed to the next great body of the rebels in Kentucky; third, the Department of the Missouri, the army in which, besides the clearing of the State of Missouri, has for a prime object the control of the Mississippi River and operations against New Orleans. Next to these the Department of Kansas is to furnish a heavy column, to move in co-operation with that in Missouri. There are other separate operations, designed to draw off and distract the enemy along the sea-coast. These are, Sherman's, expedition, which has already occupied Port Royal, S. C., and which is to attack Charleston or Savannah or both;second, Burniside's, which, having entered Albemarle Sound, will be directed against North Carolina or Southern Virginia; third the occupancy of Fort Jefferson, on the Tortugas, of Fort Taylor, Key West, and of Fort Pickens, Pensacola, together with demonstrations against the Florida coast. These outside operations are deemed to be the only ones that ought to be undertaken at this time in support of the main the troops raised, but not yet assigned, to corps d'armee, ready to support and re-enforce, in any quarter where they may be required, and which can only be determined by circumstances in the course of active operations. Thus they should not be withdrawn to raise General Butler's expedition to the number
(not less than 30,000 men, and it is believed 50,000) which would be required to insure success against New Orleans in a blow to be struck from the Gulf. It is assumed that New Orleans, being the vital point on the Gulf, should be the object, rather than Mobile or the coast of Texas. Under all these circumstances it is clear to my mind that what is known as "General Butler's expedition" ought to be suspended. The part of it now at Ship Island is well placed, and is quite adequate, with the co-operation of the Navy, to hold that important position. The remaining troops of this expedition now at Fort Monroe cannot at present be better disposed of than By adding them to the command of Major-General Wool at that post. They will there have ample opportunity for discipline and instruction, and can be readily transferred thence to another point whenever required. The supplies intended for them under the supposition they were to go to Ship Island will serve them as well at Fort Monroe.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army.
[JANUARY 25, 1862.-For Governor Andrew's communication to the Secretary of War in relation to complications growing out of the organization of the Butler expedition, &c., see D. Andrew to Stanton, January 27, 1862, Series III, Vol. II.]