port not already detailed, either for the use of the hospital department, for the transportation of the First New York Cavalry, or for the necessary service of the harbor. I think the steamers loading and to be loaded with cavalry could take in addition 3,000 infantry. These boats are, however, directed to leave as fast as they are loaded: some have already started. The embarkation of this cavalry regiment is going on very slowly, and it is not in my power to hurry the matter, although I have had several agents of the department and one commissioned officer at the wharf, to render all the assistance possible. The entire army is this morning turning in, to be stored on vessels, knapsacks, officers' baggage, and other surplus property, and with our limited wharf facilities it is impossible, unless the regular issues of forage, &c., are suspended, to avoid great confusion and delay with what is already ordered to be done. Of course, if any infantry is ordered to embark on these cavalry transports, the confusion and difficulties will be increased.
I know of no boats that may be expected here to-day, expect the South America and Fanny Cadwallader, a propeller which was ordered to be sent back from Fort Monroe.
The transports with the artillery for Aquia Creek on the night of the 8th and the morning of the 9th. They were ordered to return immediately.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. G. SAWTELLE,
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, Commanding Depot.
Lieutenant Colonel RUFUS INGALLS,
Aide-Camp and Chief Quartermaster, Army of the Potomac.
On the 12th I received the following:
WASHINGTON, August 12, 1862-12 m.
The Quartermaster-General informs me that nearly every available steam vessel in the country is now under your control. To send more from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York would interfere with the transportation of army supplies and break up the channels of travel by which we are to bring forward the new troops. Burnside moved nearly 13,000 troops to Aquia Creek in less than two days, and his transports were immediately sent back to you. All vessels in the James River and the Chesapeake Bay were placed at your disposal, and it was supposed that 8,000 or 10,000 of your men could be transported daily.
In addition to steamers, there is a large fleet of sailing vessels which could be used as transports.
The bulk of your material on shore it was thought could be sent to Fort Monroe, covered by that part of the army which could not get water transportation. Such were the views of the Government here. Perhaps we were misinformed as to the facts; if so, the delay could be explained. Nothing in my telegram was intentionally harsh or unjust, but the delay was so unexpected that an explanation was required. There has been and is the most urgent necessity for dispatch, and not a single moment must be lost in getting additional troops in front of Washington.
H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN.
I telegraphed the following reply:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Berkeley, August 12, 1862-11 p.m.
Your dispatch of noon to-day received. It is positively the fact that not more men could have been embarked hence than have gone, and that no unnecessary delay has occurred. Before your orders were received Colonel Ingalls directed all available vessels to come from Monroe. Officers have been sent to take personal direction. Have heard nothing here of Burnside's fleet.
There are some vessels at Monroe, such as Atlantic and Baltic, which draw too much to come here. Hospital accommodations exhausted this side of New York. Propose filling Atlantic and Baltic with serious cases for New York, and to encamp slight cases for the present at Monroe. In this way can probably get off the 3,400 sick still on hand by day after to-morrow night.
I am sure that you have been misinformed as to the availability of vessels on hand. We cannot use heavily-loaded supply vessels for troops or animals, and such constitute the mass of those here which have been represented to you as capable of transporting this army.
I fear you will find very great delay in embarking troops and material at Yorktown and Monroe, both from want of vessels and of facilities of embarkation. At least two additional wharves should at once be built at each place. I ordered two at the latter some two weeks ago, but you countermanded the order.