HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, August 4, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Department of Northern Virginia:
SIR: I have the honor to bring to your notice the following occurrence:
On the day before yesterday, as is reported by the commander of one of our gunboats lying near Jamestown Island, a white flag was observed to wave upon the shore. Upon sending a boat to ascertain the cause she was fired into by a party of troops secreted in the bushes. During hostilities between civilized belligerents the white flag is invested with a sacred character. Parties invited to converse under it enjoy immunity from attack.
It has been my purpose to conduct the military operations for which I am responsible with due regard to the obligations imposed upon militants by the laws and customs of civilized warfare. I trust not to be driven to the alternative of resorting to retaliatory measures to induce the troops of your army to acknowledge those obligations as far as my command is concerned.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
BERKELEY, August 5, 1862-7 a.m. [Received 1.20 p.m.]
Your telegram of yesterday* received and is being carried out as promptly as possible with the means at my command. No human power could have moved the sick in the time you say you expected them to be moved.
Judging from the cannonading now going on, Hooker's command is sharply engaged this morning. I go to the front in a few minutes. The enemy threatened us last night on the other side of James River. All passed quietly, however.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Washington, D. C., August 5, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
Commanding Army of the Potomac, James River:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your indorsement of the 29th ultimo, forwarding lists of worthy officers and enlisted men of the volunteer forces, with the view of their being promoted by their Excellencies the respective Governors. The said lists have been separated, as requested by you, and forwarded, indorsed as follows, viz:
The inclosed lists, with those for other States, were received at this office from Major-General McClellan, with his indorsement herewith.
*See McClellan's report, Series I, Vol. XI, Part I, p.82.