War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0346 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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tion. The doubt in my mind is whether the selfish politicians will allow us to do so. I fear the results of the civil policy inaugurated by recent acts of Congrees and practically enunciated by General Pope in his series of orders to the Army of Virginia.

It is my opinion that this contest should be conducted by us as a war, and as a war between civilized nations; that our efforts should be directed toward crushing the armed masses of the rebels, not against the people; but that the latter should, so far as military necessities permit, be protected in their constitutional, civil and personal rights.

I think that he question of slavery should enter into this war solely as a military one; that while we do our best to prevent the rebels from making military uses of their slaves, we should avoid any proclamations of general emancipation, and should protect inoffensive citizens in the possession of that as well as of other kinds of property. If we do not actively protect them in this respect, we should at least avoid taking an active part on the other side, and let other side, and let the negro take care of himself.

The people of the South should understand that we are not making war upon the institution of slavery, but that if they submit to the Constitution and laws of the Union they will be protected in their constitutional rights of every nature. I think that pillaging and outrages to persons ought not to be tolerated; that private property and persons should enjoy all the protection we can afford them compatible with the necessities of our position. I would have the conduct of the Union troops present a strong contrast with that of the rebel armies, and prove by our action that the Government is, as we profess it to be, being and beneficent; that wherever its power extends protection and security exist for all who do not take an active part against us. Peculiar circumstances may force us to depart from these principles in exceptional cases; but I would have these departures the exceptions, not the rule. I and the army under my command are fighting to restore the Union and the supremacy of its laws, not for revenge. I therefore deprecate and view with infinite dread any policy which tends to render impossible the reconstruction of the Union, and to make this contest simply a useless effusion of blood.

We need more men. The old regiments of this army should be promptly filled by immediately drafting, if necessary. We should present such an overwhelming force as to make success certain, be able top follow it up, and to convince the people of the South that resistance is useless.

I know that our ideas as to the concentration of forces agree perfectly. I believe that the principles I have expressed in this letter accord with your own views. I sincerely hope that we do not differ widely.

You see I have met you in your own spirit of frankness, and I would be glad to have your views on those points, that I may know what I am doing. We must have a full understanding on all points, and I regard the civil or political questions as inseparable from the military in this contest.

It is unnecessary for me to repeat my objections to the idea of withdrawing this army from its present position. Every day's reflection but serves to strengthen my conviction that the true policy is to re-enforce this army at the earliest possible moment by every available man and to allow it to resume the offensive with the least possible delay.

I am, general, your sincere friend,

GEO. B. McCLELLAN,