War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0276 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

gross and infamous charges of drunkenness, disloyalty, and treason; and, furthermore, that many intelligent people who did not credit the monstrous things said of me, but who had prejudices and unfavorable opinions, based on the little only that seemed to get abroad, might by a full exposition be disabused and led to believe that I had been unjustly condemned in many matters wherein I was generally if not universally held to be accountable.

So far as I can judge as to the causes of this outcry the first in order of time, as of importance, with reference to the consequences to which it led, was the part I was charged to have taken in the separation of my army corps from General McClellan's army in April last, on the occasion of his going to the Peninsula.

It may be remembered for what a length of time, how deeply, how almost universally, I was censured for having broken up that army. It was, I am told, generally credited throughout that army and the country that not only I sought to have, but succeeded in having, this done for an unworthy personal object-to have an independent command for myself.


As connected with this question and preceding it, it has been thought proper to take up the subject of the number, character, and disposition of the forces left for the defense of the capital by General McClellan or which he intended and ordered to be left on the occasion of his embarking for the Peninsula.

On this point the court has before it the statements of Generals McClellan and Barry, and of Generals Hitchcock, Keyes, and Wadsworth, which fully explain the matter on both sides. I have not been able to see how I am responsible or in any way concerned in this branch of the question. The papers submitted by General Hitchcock show that it was a condition of the President that in changing the scene of active operations General McClellan should leave the capital entirely secure, and that the amount of force to be left by him for this purpose should be not only what he, but his corps commanders, should deem sufficient.

General Keyes states that at Fairfax Court-House, when that matter was acted upon by the corps commanders, I gave the opinion-

That, with the forts on the right bank of the Potomac fully garrisoned and those on the left occupied, a covering force in front of the Virginia line of 25,000 men would suffice.

After giving this opinion, and its being made known to General McClellan, I had, I submit, no further responsibility in the matter. The whole subject thereafter was between General McClellan and his superior. As General McClellan's subordinate, I could have properly no part, and had none, in seeing that he fulfilled his duty or how he fulfilled it.

It is quite true that up to the time of his embarking for the Peninsula I knew much of General McClellan's plans, and it is equally true there was much I did not know.

I did not know till after he left that my corps was to be the last to embark, for it was understood General Sumner's corps, then in front of Manassas, was to remain until the other corps should reach the Peninsula and we should have become sure the enemy had left Gordonsville and was in their front.

General McClellan's letter of April 1, written on board steamer Com-