the means of resistance of those boats, but if they get among our transports and come opposite this camp you can understand the damage they can do as well as myself.
As I have been as earnest in the cause as any other man, and as my recorded testimony will prove and demonstrate that I have not in any case overrated the resistance to be expected at any period of this war, I will now tell you my conclusions in regard to the present situation of our affairs:
First. This army cannot take the offensive with a certainty of success with re-enforcements less than 100,000. For this army to retake the offensive without any re-enforcements would result in certain defeat.
Second. This army, in its present position, may be starved out, and if we have not the means to destroy the enemy's gunboats it may be destroyed or neutralized for a time long enough to enable the enemy to send 100,000 men into Maryland.
You are aware that a year and a half ago I was for striking quickly. I am now in favor of striking as quickly as we can, but not to strike until we get together an army large enough to give us a strong probability of success. For us to strike as our means are now, in regard to strength and situation, our chances for success would not be one in three.
Please think of what I have said in this letter, for if the Army of the Potomac is destroyed the South will overrun the North.
In haste, your friend,
E. D. KEYES.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., July 27,'62.
1. The attention of the general commanding has been drawn to the serious and growing evil of applications in person. All papers of a personal nature are acted upon at these headquarters in the order of their presentation and with the greatest possible dispatch, and any solicitations or inquiries with a view to hasten action on them, besides being in violation of repeated general orders, produce merely delay and embarrassment to the public business.
The general commanding directs that no notice be taken at these headquarters of any application presented in person without the express permission of the corps commander or the highest commander of a body of troops not serving in a corps; such permission to be granted only in cases where it is evident that highly important private interests or the public service will suffer or life be endangered by the brief delay incident to the usual course of business, and to be signified in the indorsement of the corps or other independent commander. Except in such cases and with such permission no officer will be allowed to visit these headquarters for the purpose of facilitating an application or to ascertain its result.
Commanding officers are desired to send in all applications and other papers of a personal nature only by the messengers required by existing orders to report at these headquarters at 10 a.m. and 5 a.m. daily.
II. The duties of the inspector-general and assistant inspector-general at these headquarters are coextensive with the wants and interests of the service in its various departments and branches. They are clothed with the authority of the general commanding to give such directions for the good of the public service as may appear necessary,