officers. We were driven from the field, and here we are, after marching all last night strongly located in a position which, if the enemy shells, will cause slaughter; but I do not believe he will attack, but get in our rear, and compel us to attack him in a well-selected place. The men are without heart, but will fight when cornered. To-day General Pope asked the question of the Government if arrangements had been made to protect Washington in case this army met with a disaster. He said to us, chief of corps present, when the reply was received, that he was glad the Government had decided the question for him, but we were to fight wherever the enemy was, meaning we were not to return to Alexandria, &c., as all forces were coming to us. I believe the decision was a general disappointment, except to him. However, we obey, and do what Halleck thinks is best. Pope says there are political considerations which control, not the safety of the army; but our men will not fight with heart when they know, if wounded (as we cannot retain the field against present odds), they are to be left to the care of the enemy. Pope sent in a flag to-day to get our wounded. I have many officers in their hands, some of the most valuable, from every State. Our wagons are gone, and our artillery and cavalry will not soon be movable. The latter is broken down, and, as Pope says, he has no cavalry though he has regiments. We have taken very few prisoners (some 400). In return, we have left all our killed and the most of our wounded in their bands. The enemy got one battery of six pieces yesterday; I believe belonged to Reynolds. The enemy took Manassas, one battery, and left one piece (iron) spiked and useless. It was left on the ground when we abandoned Manassas. I hear it is claimed we captured it.
We are bivouacking, and, as I have had no dinner or supper to-day, and no change of any to-morrow, I will bid you good-by, in the hope of soon seeing you (without being whipped), and that you have plenty to eat. If we return, I hope the forces will be directed to take different roads to the forts, and they will be well manned and protected by us. I do not wish to see the army back, if it can be helped; but I fear it may be kept here at the will(?) of the enemy to cripple it, so that when it does get back it will be so crippled that it cannot defend the forts against the powerful ---- of the enemy, who will hold it here while they cross into Maryland. I may be in error as [to] their purpose.
Lee is here; Jackson is not now here. Cadmus [M.] Wilcox commands Hill's division, directly in front, and the enemy are massing to turn us. I expect to hear hourly of our rear being cut, and our supplies and trains (scarcely guarded) at Fairfax Station being destroyed, as we are required to stay here and fight. I am glad Couch is coming up on the road. Hope we will have the fight before he gets here, as so much will have the fight before he gets here, as so much will be saved for another day. I understand the Secretary of the Interior sent out some men to take care of our wounded, and they were much surprised to find they were in the hands of the enemy. They return with a different impression from what they came. Good-night. The bearer will tell you much.
F. J. PORTER,
I certify that the above is a true copy of a dispatch received by me on the morning of September 1, 1862, by the hands of Lieutenant Monteith, aide-de-camp to Major General F. J. Porter.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army.