War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0228 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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the President's order and instructions have been complied with in respect to the forces to be left for the defense of Washington and its security; and at Manassas; and if not, wherein those instructions have been departed from.

Yours, truly,

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

L.

WASHINGTON, D. C., April 2, 1862

In compliance with your instructions we have examined the papers submitted to us and have the honor to make the following report:

1. The President's War Orders, Numbers 3, dated March 8, requires that on taking up any new base of operations the city of Washington shall be left entirely secure. The other points of the order it is unnecessary to consider, as the enemy since its date have abandoned their positions and batteries on the Potomac and retired behind the Rappahannock.

2. The council of general officers held at Fairfax Court-House March 13 took place after the enemy had retired from Manassas and destroyed the railroad in their rear. The council decided unanimously to take up a new base of operations from Fort Monroe, and three of the generals (a majority) decided that the force necessary to be left should be sufficient to fully garrison the forts on the right bank of the Potomac and to occupy those on the left bank, with a covering force of 25,000. It is, we think, the judgment of officers that some 30,000 men would be necessary thus to man these forts, which with the number of the covering force, would make a total of 55,000.

3. The President's directions of March 13 to General McClellan direct-

1st. To leave such a force at Manassas Junction as shall make it entirely certain that the enemy may not repossess it.

2nd. That Washington shall be left entirely secure.

3rd. That the remainder of the army move down the Potomac or move in pursuit of the enemy.

In regard to occupying Manassas Junction, as the enemy have destroyed the railroads leading to it, it may be fair to assume that they have no intention of returning for the re-occupation of their late position, and therefore no very large force would be necessary to hold that position.

4. Major-General McClellan's report to the Adjutant-General of April 1, after giving the several positions of the troops proposed to be left for the defense of Washington, gives a representation as follows:

Men.

At Warrenton there is to be................................ 7,780

At Manassas, say...........................................10,859

In the valley of the Shenandoah............................35,467

On the Lower Potomac....................................... 1,350

------

In all.....................................................55,456

and there would be left for the garrisons and the front of Washington under General Wadsworth some 18,000.

In the above enumeration General Banks' army corps is included, but whether this corps, operating in the Shenandoah Valley, should be regarded as part of the force available for the protection of the immediate front of Washington the undersigned express no opinion.