In regard to the force of the enemy, he expressed the opinion, that it was not less than 200,000 and I found that in this estimate most of his officers agreed. His own effective force was, officers and men, about 90,000,which with 20,000 re-enforcements, would make 110,000.
I had no time or opportunity to investigate the facts upon which these estimates were based, and therefore, can give no opinion as to their correctness.
His officers, as I understood, were about equally divided in opinion in regard to the policy of withdrawing or of risking an attack on Richmond.
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
July 27, 1862. (Received 2 p.m.)
I respectfully apply for permission to send an officer from each regiment to the place where it was raised, with authority to bring on every officer and man he can find fit for duty, whether on leave of absence or not, no matter from what source the leave may be granted.
I have official assurance that the number of people absent on leave is having an injurious effect on the recruiting service. Absentees tell such exaggerated stories of the hardships and sufferings of campaign life and of the carnage of the battle-field that they deter recruits from enlisting. The leaves might be revoked by an order from the Adjutant-General's Office, except where the case is that of bona fide sick and wounded, unable to join.
The officers I propose to send from each regiment should report at your office and receive orders. Such is my application; to visit all hospitals and places where soldiers may be detained, whether on extra duty or otherwise, no matter by what order or whose authority, and bring them here to their regiments. The recruiting service-service on important duty-of course will be expected. I am satisfied that the most fertile source of increase to the diminished ranks of the regiments is to get back the absentees from the army. There are two well men absent to one really sick man.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH CORPS,
Harrison's Bar, July 27, 1862
General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I was sorry not to see more of you the other day. I should have been glad to canvass opinions with you. It struck me that Halleck underrates the number of enemies opposed to us about Richmond. That number is 200,000 and is more than double our numbers; rely on this as certain and act accordingly.
Another matter is worthy of some notice. It is reported that the rebels have two armored vessels at Richmond, and that one is ready for action. This I learn from Navy officers. I know not the extent of