unless he makes a stout resistance, we may be too late. A report came in just this moment that Miles was attacked to-day and repulsed the enemy, but I do not know what credit to attach to the statement. I shall do everything in my power to save Miles if he still holds out. Portions of Burnside's and Franklin's corps moved forward this evening. I have received your dispatch of 10 a. m. You will perceive, from what I have stated, that there is but little probability of the enemy being in much force south of the Potomac. I do not, by any means, wish to be understood as undervaluing the importance of holding Washington. It is of great consequence, but upon the success of this army the fate of the nation depends. It was for this reason that I said everything else should be made subordinate to placing this army in proper condition to meet the large rebel force in our front. Unless General Lee has changed his plans, I expect a severe general engagement to-morrow. I feel confident that there is now no rebel force immediately threatening Washington or Baltimore, but that I have the mass of their troops to contend with, and they outnumber me when united.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
September 13, 1862.
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, U. S. Army:
GENERAL: There is no more important arm of the military service than the regular artillery, and none which, during the existing war, has achieved more, and upon which hope for the future success, during the contest, is to rely. It is of the greatest consequence to maintain it in a condition of efficiency. For this end it must be recruited. Out of batteries, when it is of great importance that they should be of six guns, and this for want of cannoneers and drivers.
The volunteers serving with the batteries in many cases have demanded to be returned to their regiments, and I have been compelled, since they have a short of right to it, to return them. During the present month and the fall months the terms of service of many men will expire. Thus, the condition of the regular artillery is precarious unless some stimulus is given to the recruiting service.
I view it of the highest importance to the country and the service that the six-gun batteries should be increased to eight-gun batteries. We would thus need fewer volunteer batteries; would have a more manageable artillery force, at less expense, than we have now, and would have on vastly more reliable.
To carry the ten four-gun, batteries up to eight-gun batteries would require 100 men each, say, 1,000 men; to carry the sixteen sign-gun batteries up to eight-gun batteries would require 60 men each, say, 960 men; to fill up the twenty-six batteries, of six guns each, with the proper complement of men would require from 1,000 to 1,200 men.
I earnestly invite the serious attention of the Adjutant-General and the War Department to the subject of filling up the artillery, and I ask that every means be exhausted to procure 2,000 men for the artillery. I also inclose a memorandum of the number of recruits needed for the regular infantry. The regular infantry regiments are the most reliable foot troops that we have. Their existence is threatened by the paucity and continual diminution of their numbers.