War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0073 Chapter XXIII. GENERAL REPORTS.

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aid or the gunboats and the re-enforcements mentioned above you can hold your present position, provided, and so long as,you can keep the James River open below you. If you are not tolerably confident you can keep the James River open, you had better remove as soon as possible. I do not remember that you have expressed any apprehension as to the danger of having your communication cut on the river below you, yet I do not suppose it can have escaped your attention.

Your, very truly,

A. LINCOLN

P. S.- If at any time you feel able to take the offensive you are not restrained from doing so.

Major-General McCLELLAN.

The following telegram was sent on the 7th:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

Berkeley, July 7, 1862-8.30 a.m.

As boat is starting I have only time to acknowledge receipt of dispatch by General Marcy. Enemy have not attacked. My position is very strong, and, daily becoming more so. If not attacked to-day I shall laugh at them. I have been anxious about my communications. Had long consultation about it with Flag-Officer Goldsborough last night. He is confident he can keep river open. He should have all gunboats possible. Will see him again this morning. My men in splendid spirits, and anxious to try it again. Alarm yourself as little as possible about me, and don't lose confidence in this army.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN.

Major-General.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President.

While General-in-Chief, and directing the operations of all our armies in the field, I had become deeply impressed with the importance of adopting and carrying out certain views regarding the conduct of the war, which,in my judgment, were essential to its objects and its success. During an active campaign of three months in the enemy country these were so fully confirmed, that I conceived it a duty, in the critical position we then occupied, not to withhold a candid expression of the more important of these views from the Commander-in-Chief, whom the Constitution places at the head of the armies and navies, as well as of the Government of the nation.

The following is a copy of my letter to Mr. Lincoln:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., July 7, 1862

MR. PRESIDENT: You have been fully informed that the rebel army is in our front with the purpose of overwhelming us by attacking our positions or reducing us by blocking our river communications. I cannot but regard our condition as critical, and I earnestly desire, in view of possible contingencies, to lay before Your Excellency for your private consideration my general views concerning the existing state of the rebellion, although they do not strictly relate to the situation of this army or strictly come within the scope of my official duties. These views amount to convictions, and are deeply impressed upon my mind and heart. Our cause must never be abandoned; it is the cause of free institutions and self-government. The Constitution and the Union must be preserved, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood. If secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future. Let neither military disaster, political faction, nor foreign war shake your settled purpose to enforce the equal operation of the laws of the United States upon the people of every State.

The time has come when the Government must determine upon a civil and military policy covering the whole ground of our national trouble. The responsibility of directing the whole course of national affairs in regard to the rebellion, must now be assumed and exercised by you, or our cause will be lost. The Constitute given you power sufficient even for the present terrible exigency.

This rebellion has assumed the character of a war. As such it should be regarded, and it should be conducted upon the highest principles known to Christian civilization. It should not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State