War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0739 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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I shall lose no time in the movements. Please to let me hear early to-morrow about the above smaller vessels. The mortar boats will leave, as directed, to-morrow morning.

Respectfully,

CHARLES WILKES.

WASHINGTON, August 30, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: In reply to your note of last evening* I have to state:

1st. That on the 30th of July I directed General McClellan to send away his sick as quickly as possible, preparatory to his moving in some direction. Receiving no answer, the order was repeated August 2. On the 3rd of August I directed him to withdraw his entire army from Harrison's Landing and bring it to Aquia Creek.

2nd. That the order was not obeyed with the promptness I expected and the national safety, in my opinion, required. It will be seen from my telegraphic correspondence that General McClellan protested against the movement, and that it was not actually commenced till the 14th instant. It is proper to remark that the reasons given for not moving earlier was the delay in getting off the sick. As shown in my correspondence, I was most earnestly pressing him to move quickly, for the reason that I felt very anxious for the safety of Washington. From all the information I could obtain I believed that the enemy intended to crush General Pope's army and attack this city. I also believe that our only safety was to unite the two armies as rapidly as possible between the enemy and Washington. The object of pushing general Pope forward to the Rapidan was simply to gain time for General McClellan's army to get into position somewhere in rear of the Rappahhannock. This I at first hoped to accomplish by landing the troops of General Burnside and McClellan at Aquia Creek. But the time which elapsed between the arrival of these two armies compelled me to bring most of General McClellan's forces to Alexandria, as General Pope was then falling back from the Upper Rappahannock before the main body of the enemy. When General McClellan's movement was begun it was rapidly carried out; but there was an unexpected delay in commencing it. General McClellan reports the delay was unavoidable.

3rd. That on the 26th August, at 11.20, I telegraphed to Major-General Franklin, at Alexandria, to march his corps by Centreville toward Warrenton and to report to General Pope. Finding that Franklin's corps had not left, I telegraphed to General McClellan on the 27th, at 10 a. m., to have it march in the direction of Manassas as soon as possible. On the same day, at 12 m., I again telegraphed to General Pope's troops as well as I could ascertain them, and suggested the possibility that the enemy would attempt to turn his right. At 9 p. m. General McClellan telegraphed that he should retain Cox with General Franklin till next morning, an would visit my headquarters immediately. He came to

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*See Stanton to Halleck, August 28, p.706.

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