War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0322 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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more than one-half these men are probably fit for duty to-day. I have frequently called the attention lately of the War Department to the evil of absenteeism. I think that the exciting of the public press to persistent attack upon officers and soldiers absent from the army, the employment of deputy marshals too arrest and send back deserters, summary dismissal of officers whose names are reported for being absent without leave, and the publication of their names, will exhaust the remedies applicable by the War Department.

It is to be remembered that many of those absent by authority are those who have got off either sick or wounded or under pretense of sickness or wounds, and having originally pretext of authority are still reported absent by authority. If I could receive back the absentees and could get my sick men up I would need but small re-enforcements to enable me to take Richmond. After the battle of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, &c., most of these men got off. Well men got on board hospital boats taking care of sick, &c. There is always confusion and haste in shipping and taking care of wounded after a battle. There is no time for nice examination of permits to pass here or there.

I can now control people getting away better, for the natural opportunities are better. Leakages by desertion occur in every army and will occur here of course, but I do not at all however anticipate anything like a recurrence of what has taken place.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN.

Major-General.

FORT MONROE, July 15, 1862-3.45 p.m.

C. P. WOLCOTT,

Assistant Secretary of War:

General Stevens has arrived. Four of his regiments are here. His division, of six regiments, has about 4,000 men. General Wright is coming with four regiments. General Stevens says General Hunter intends to send 8,000 or 9,000 men.

JOHN A. DIX.

Major-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT.

July 15, 1862

Major General JOHN A. DIX.

Let General Hunter's troops be disembarked and placed under command of General Burnside until further order. What number are coming?

EDWIN M. STANTON.

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

July 15, 1862.

Major-General DIX, Fort Monroe:

The transports that bring General Hunter's troops to Fort Monroe should remain there until further order, unless some necessity requires them to go elsewhere.

EDWIN M. STANTON.

Secretary of War.