future. They fully agree with my own ideas from the beginning, which has ever been against a movement in force down the Mississippi itself. The news from the Burnside expedition is by no means so unfavorable as the telegram reports. He had terrible gales while crowded in a small harbor. The only real evil of consequence is the delay.
I will try to devote this afternoon to you and Buell, to give you my views and intentions in full.
Can you spare Stanley to Buell as chief of cavalry, or shall I look elsewhere to get him one? He (Buell) has not asked for him, but I know him to be a first-rate officer.
I am very sorry that you have been so ill, but sincerely hope that you are now quite well again.
While I think of it, do you not think that it would be well to try one of those mortar floats thoroughly with 50 or 100 discharges before arming them all? Je m'en doute un peu. It is very desirable to move all along the line by the 22nd February, if possible.
In haste, sincerely, your friend,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.
LOUISVILLE, KY., February 1, 1862.
Major General GEORGE Mc CLELLAN,
Commanding U. S. Army:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Since my reply to your last letter I have directed my efforts to the object you had in view. The obstacles i have had to fight against are the want of transportation and the condition of the roads. The former alone has been an insuperable obstacle to an advance into East Tennessee, and when that is overcome I feel it my duty to tell you, with the light of the experience we are now having, that the latter will effectually bar our progress in that direction on a footing which will promise anything but failure. I will give you my reasons; you can judge what they are worth:
It is 200 miles or thereabouts from our depots (at the determines of the railroad) to Knoxville or the nearest point on the Tennessee Railroad. At the best supplies are meager along the whole route, and if they suffice for a trip or two must by that time be entirely exhausted for any distance that we can reach along both sides of the road.
From Somerset to Jacksborough we will scarcely find any at all. East Tennessee is almost entirely stripped of wheat by the enemy. In the productive region there is still a small surplus of corn and wheat. We must supply two-thirds of the ration from our deports here, and we must of course depend on them also for our ordnance and other stores. It will take 1,000 wagons constantly going to supply 10,000 men. We can judge of the effect of that amount of hauling on the dirt roads of this country by the experience we have already had. Forty of the 80 miles from Lebanon to Somerset are of that sort of road, and it is a tedious work, too much so to be undertaken on the whole route to East Tennessee. If the number of troops and consequently the amount of hauling is increased the difficulty is increased in a greater proportion. The limited amounted of forage on the route will be speedily exhausted, as besides provisions for our men we must have forage for our animals; a thing that is not to be thought of.