War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0685 Chapter XVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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Washington, February 7, 1862.

Colonel A. V. COLBURN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I would add to what I addressed you this morning that I deem it very important that an Engineer officer thoroughly acquainted with the fortifications about New Orleans, and who traveled through the intricate routes of approach, should accompany the expedition. There is (besides myself and General Totten) one such, viz, Lieutenant Weitzel. McFarland has some little acquaintance, not at all approaching to Weitzel's. Palfrey knows nothing of the works nor the country.

Yours, respectfully, &c.,


Chief Engineer.

FEBRUARY 7, 1862.


MY DEAR GENERAL: I would be glad if you would find time to look over attentively the plan I submitted for taking Forts Jackson and Saint Philip. I do not care that that particular mode of operation be adopted, if any other as good or better officers, but what I do wish is, that the matter shall be carefully concerted and prepared for, with a full sense of the important consequences likely to ensue. Engrossed as I have been with local duties, I have not comprehended their consequences nor how attainable they were. To attack Port Royal or Charleston or Savannah successfully is to attain, indeed, a great moral effect, but to capture Forts Jackson and Saint Philip and take New Orleans is to conquer the would Mississippi Valley, and I may add the whole Gulf coast. All would speedily fall. I would not, therefore, have this expedition fail or produce a mere half-way result.

I would add that besides myself there is one other Engineer officer, Lieutenant Weitzel, thoroughly acquainted with these works, and a most capital officer he is, too. McFarland was there a short time; he is much too inexperienced. I think some one ought to go. Beauregard has told them that New Orleans is safe from the Mississippi. I should confess to a personal gratification (besides my general interest in the matter) in seeing this region, so associated with Chase and Beauregard, recaptured. I believe that in three months we may have the rebellion by the throat.

Yours, respectfully, &c.,


Chief Engineer.


Boston, February 7, 1862.

Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,

Commander-in-Chief U. S. Army:

GENERAL: In reply to telegram from Lieutenant-Colonel Colburn I have the honor to state that the heavy artillery required by me (in addition to four Sawyer rifled guns, 5 and 8 inch, &c., which are being prepared here) is simply as follows:

1. Four 8-inch siege howitzers and carriages, now at Fort Jefferson, the shells for them at Fortress Monroe.

2. One battery of six 20-pounder Parrot guns, with carriages, ammunition, &c., complete.