War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0282 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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cember 6) to have a bridge ready to be put across the Massaponax, so that any further supplies which we might require could be sent after us by railroad. I had now ready to march over 40,000 men and over one hundred pieces of artillery. Though I could have started and would have started Sunday, yet it was resolved not to march till Monday; this out of deference to the wishes of the President, who was with me at the time, having come down Friday night, and with the concurrence of the Secretary of War, on account of the day. (See evidence of General Haupt, December 6.)

I have five days' short rations placed in the wagons, intending to have the men take two additional days' in their haversacks. This would have given sufficient for the march to the front of Richmond, which would have taken three days, and left us enough for the train to go to the magazines which General McClellan was to have ordered to be established on the Pamunkey, get another load, and return to the troops. Thus we could have gone independent of the railroad between Fredericksburg and Richmond if the enemy should succeed in destroying it in his retreat.

It was Saturday night that the telegrams announcing the movement of Jackson down the Shenandoah against General Banks began to be received by me at Fredericksburg.

On Sunday, the 24th, I received the order of the President-

To lay aside for the present the movement on Richmond, and put 20,000 men in motion at once for the Shenandoah.

On the 25th the Secretary of War informed me-

The movements ordered yesterday should be pressed forward with all speed. The President thinks your field of operations at present is the one he has indicated.

The papers submitted December 10, and appended to that day's proceedings, and those of December 15 will show clearly everything concerning the movements from Fredericksburg to the Shenandoah. I do not purpose to discuss here at all the quality of my judgment in this matter. A certain plan I had much at heart had been adopted and was on the eve of execution when I received orders changing it. I thought whilst obeying the orders, which I immediately proceeded to do, that even if it were not my duty to do so I would be pardoned, both on account of the public service as well as of myself, if, in view of the important trust I held, I should acquaint the President, even unasked, with my own views. This I did in the dispatches to him and the Secretary of War May 24.

These must certainly acquit me of having sought or procured this movement to avoid going to General McClellan.


These dispatches last referred to will also show that I did lay aside "for the present" the movement on Richmond; that "I pressed forward with all speed" the one ordered by the President, accepting it in perfect good faith and acting with all my energy in the field of operations he had indicated, though I certainly left the one I wished to pursue with a heavy heart. But, as I had taken the liberty to say so to the President I felt it the more incumbent on me to prove that I was doing everything I could to insure the success of the plan he had laid down.

It will be seen that the troops of Ord's division were ordered by the Department to Washington and Alexandria by waters. Shields' division,