therefore, to expedite matters I decided to embark the army by divisions as transports arrived, keeping army corps together as much as possible, and to collect the troops at Fort Monroe. In determining the order of embarkation convenience and expedition were especially consulted, except that the First Corps who to be embarked last, as I intended to move it in mass to its point of disembarkation, and to land it on either bank of the York, as might then be determined.
On the 17th of March Hamilton's division, of the Third Corps, embarked at Alexandria, and proceeded to Fort Monroe with the following orders:
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 17, 1862.
You will, on your arrival at Fort Monroe, report to General Wool, and request him to assign you ground for encamping your division. You will remain at Fort Monroe until further orders from General McClellan. Should General Wool require the services of your division in repelling an attack, you will his orders and use every effort to carry out his views.
R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff.
General C. S. HAMILTON,
On the 22nd of March, as soon as transportation was ready, General Fitz John Porter's division, of the same corps, embarked. General Heintzelman was ordered to accompany it, under the following instructions:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Seminary, March 22, 1862.
GENERAL: Upon the disembarkation of Porter's division at Fort Monroe I have to request that you move you two divisions (Porter's and Hamilton's) some 3 or 4 miles out from the fort, to find good camping places, where wood and water can be readily obtained, and where your positions will be good in a defensive point of view. You may find it advisable to place one division on or near the road leading to Yorktown from Newport News; the other upon that leading to Yorktown direct from Fort Monroe. If you find that the nature of the country will permit easy communication and mutual support between the two divisions it will be best to place one on each road. It will be best to remain pretty near the fort for the present, in order to give the impression that our object is to attack Nortfolk rather than Yorktown. You will do well, however, to push strong reconnaissance well to the front, to ascertain the position of the enemy and his pickets. I will, as soon as possible, re-enforce you by the third division of your corps, and it is probable that a part or the whole of the Fourth Corps will also move from Forth Monroe. This will probably be determined before your disembarkation is completed, and you will be informed accordingly.
My desire be to make no important move in advance until we are fully prepared to follow it up and give the enemy no time to recover.
The quartermaster of your corps will receive detailed instructions in regard to land transportation from General Van Vliet.
It will be advisable to mobilize your corps with the least possible delay and have it prepared for an advance. I have directed extra clothing, ammunition,&c., to be sent to Fort Monroe, so that all deficiencies may be supplied without delay.
Please report to me frequently and fully the condition of things on the new field of operations and whatever intelligence you gain as to the enemy.
Engage guides in sufficient numbers at once, and endeavor to send out spies.
I am, very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Brigadier General S. P. HEINTZELMAN,
Commanding Third Corps.
The remaining divisions embarked as rapidly as transports could be supplied.
On the 1st of April I embarked with the headquarters on the steamer Commodore, and reached Fort Monroe on the afternoon of the 2nd.
In consequence of the delay in the arrival of the horse transports at