War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0104 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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a serious disaster. Give me all additional news that is reliable . I shall be up all night, and ready to act as circumstances require. I am fully aware of the gravity of the crisis, and have been for weeks.



Major-General McCLELLAN.


On the 1st September I went into Washington, where I had an interview with the General-in-Chief, who instructed me verbally to take command of its defenses, expressly limiting my jurisdiction to the works and their garrisons, and prohibiting me from exercising any control over the troops actively engaged in front under General Pope. During this interview suggested to the General-in-Chief the necessity of his going in person or sending one of his personal staff to the army under General Pope, for the purpose of ascertaining the exact condition of affairs. He sent Colonel Kelton, his assistant adjutant-general.

During the afternoon of the same day I received a message from the General-in-Chief to the effect that he desired me to go at once to his house to see the President.

The President informed me that ha had reason to believe that the Army of the Potomac was not cheerfully co-operating with and spurting General Pope; that he had "always been a friend of mine," and now asked me, as a special favor, to use my influence in correcting this state of things. I replied, substantially, that I was confident that he was misinformed; that I was sure, whatever estimate the Army of the Potomac might entertain of General Pope, that they would obey his orders, support him to the fullest extent, and do their whole duty. The President, who was much moved, asked me to telegraph to "Fitz John Porter, or some other of my friends," and try to do away with any feeling that might exist; adding that I could rectify the evil, and that no one else could. I thereupon told him that I would cheerfully telegraph to General Porter, or do anything else in my power to gratify his wishes and relieve his anxiety; upon which he thanked me very warmly, assured me that he could never forget my action in the matter, &c., and left.

I then wrote the following telegram to General Porter, which was sent to him by the General-in-Chief:

Washington, September 1, 1862.

I ask of you, for my sake, that of the country, and the old Army of the Potomac, that you and all my friends will lend the fullest and most cordial co-operation to General Pope in all the operations now going on. The destinies of our country, the honor of our arms, are at stake, and all depends now upon the cheerful co-operation of all in the field. This week is the crisis of our fate. Say the same thing to my friends in the Army of the Potomac, and that the last request I have to make of them is, that for their country's sake they will extend to general Pope the same support they ever have to me.

I am in charge of the defenses of Washington, and am doing all can to render your retreats safe, should that become necessary.


Major-General PORTER.

To which he sent the following reply:

FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, September 2, 1862-10 a. m.

You may rest assured that all your friends, as well as every lover of his country, will ever give, as they have given, to General Pope their cordial co-operation and constant support in the execution of all orders and plans. Our killed, wounded, and enfeebled troops attest our devoted duty.



Major-General, Commanding Washington.