I should be glad to have a detailed statement of your preparations and proceedings by mail. The necessary authority for action will be forwarded by this day's mail, and instructions will also be given to General Wool and the officers at Fort Monroe.
EDWIN M. STANTON.
Washington City, March 20, 1862.
C. VANDERBILT, Esq.,
New York City, N. Y.:
SIR: The President desires to turn to the utmost account your patriotic and generous gift to the government of the great steamship Vanderbilt, and to use and employ that ship for protection and defense against the rebel iron-clan ship Merrimac, and also to secure at the present time the advantage of your great energy and nautical experience. And to that end, having accepted your gift of the Vanderbilt, he authorizes and directs me to receive her into the service of the War Department, and to use and employ the said steamship and her officers and crew, under you supervision, direction, and command, to aid the protection and defense of the transports now in the service of this Department on Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, and adjacent waters, and wherever the said transports may be bound.
Confiding in your patriotic motives and purposes, as well as in your skill, judgment, and energy, full discretion and authority are conferred upon you to arm, equip, navigate, use, manage, and employ the said steamship vanderbilt, with such commander and crew and under such instructions as you may deem fit for the purposes hereinbefore expressed.
Instructions will be given to the Quartermaster-General to furnish you with supplies, and to treat and recognize the Vanderbilt, her officers and crew, as in the Government service and under the special orders of this Department. Whatever instructions or authority you may require for the proper conduct and efficiency of said steamship in the Government service will be given on application to this Department.
To the officers whom you may place in command of said ship you will give such instructions as you may deem proper, communicating a copy thereof to this Department for its information.
By order of the President:
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS, Seminary, March 20, 1862.
Major J. P. GARESCHE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, War Department:
The grand aggregate of the Army of the Potomac, including General Dix's, General banks', and General Wadsworth's commands, as nearly as can now be ascertained, is 240,234.
Of this number 196,797 are infantry; 24,110 are cavalry, and 19,327 are artillery.