War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0313 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC. - UNION.

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duty as chief quartermaster of this army, and will proceed to Washington, and report for duty to the Quartermaster-General. In issuing this order, the general commanding cheerfully acknowledges the valuable services rendered by General Van Vliet in the organization and administration of his department in connection with this army.

II. Lieutenant Colonel Rufus Ingalls, aide-de-camp, is announced as chief quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.

III. Surg. Jonathan Letterman is announced as medical director of this army, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.

By command of Major-General McClellan:

S. WILLIAMS.

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Harrison's Bar, July 10, 1862

His Excellency THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

SIR: After some inquiry, I find that my opinions agree essentially with the opinions of several officers whom I regard as the most able in this army, at the head of which is General Barnard, of the Engineers. I therefore venture of address a letter to Your Excellency.

The simple failure of this army to reach Richmond has given a serious aspect to our affairs, and after much reflection I have considered the subject of first importance to be the position which this army ought to occupy during the next two months.

Can this army remain here encamped at Harrison's Bar?

Clearly not, since the confinement to a small space, the heat, and sickliness of this camp would nearly destroy the army in two months, though no armed force should assail it. Moreover, the enemy being in possession of both banks of the James River above and below us, he will shortly find the means to cut us off from our supplies, or shut us up by means of fortifications and his abundant artillery, in such a manner as will give him time, ample time, to capture Washington before we could possibly go to its rescue.

Can this army leave its present camp to go and attack Richmond?

No; it cannot. To make this army to march on Richmond with any hope of success it must be re-enforced by at least 100,000 good troops. No officer here, whose opinion is worth one penny, will recommend a less number. To bring troops freshly raised at the North to this country in months of July, August, and September would be to cast our resources into the sea. The raw troops would melt away and be ruined forever.

Some of our officers think that to remove this army to the neighborhood of Washington would be a virtual abandonment of our cause. I cannot regard the matter in that light at all. This army has not been defeated in battle, nor has it been repulsed in this campaign as often as it has repulsed the enemy. It is no in a strong position, with all its baggage. Sickness, and the approach of a more sickly season, together with the superiority in numbers and sanitary advantages on the part of the enemy, render it proper and advisable that we should return to our capital and a healthy country. Did not the Confederates return to their capital from Manassas, and afterward from Williamsburg did they not retreat in confusion? In the West the two armies have often been successful and unsuccessful, and have each frequently retreated in