of the Potomac to be organized into army corps, and that operations should commerce immediately.
Two lines of operations were open. First. One moving directly on the enemy by Manassas, and forcing him back on Richmond, beating and destroying him by superior force, and all the time keeping the capital secure by being between it and the enemy. This was the plan favored by the President. Second. The order plan was to transfer the troops by water to some point on the Lower Chesapeake, and thence advance on Richmond. This was General McClellan's plan. The President reluctantly yield his own views, although they were supported by some of the best military men in the country, and consented that the general should pursue his own plan. But, by a written order, he imposed the special condition that the army should not be moved without leaving a sufficient force in and around Washington to make the capital perfectly secure against all danger, and that the force required should be determined by the judgment of all the commanders of army corps.
In order to enable General McClellan to devote his whole energy to the movement of his own army (which was quite enough to tax the ability of the ablest commandeer in the world), he was relieved form the charge of the other military departments, it being supposed that their respective commanders were competent to direct the operations in their own departments. To enable General McClellan to transport his force, every means and power of the Government was placed at his disposal and unsparingly used.
When a large part of his force had been transferred to Fortress Monroe, and the whole of it about to go in a few days, information was given to me by various persons that there was great reason to fear that no adequate force had been left to defend the capital in case of a sudden attack; that the enemy might detach a large force, and seize it at a time when it would be impossible for General McClellan to render any assistance. Serious alarm was expressed by many persons, and many warnings given me, which I could not neglect. I ordered a report of the force left to defend Washington. It was reported by the commander to be less than 20,000 raw recruits, with not a single organized brigade! A dash, like that made a short time before at Einchester, would at any time take the capital of the nation. The report of the force left to defend Washington, and the order of the President, were referred to Major-General Hitchcock and Adjutant-General Thomas to report --
1st. Whether the President's orders had been complied with.
2d. Whether the force left to defend this city was sufficient.
They reported in the negative on both points. These reports were submitted to the President, who also consulted General Totten, General Taylor, General Meigs, and General Ripley. The agreed in opinion that the capital was not safe.
The President then, by written order, directed me to retain one of the army corps for the defense of Washington, either Sumner's or McDowell's. As part of Sumner's corps had already embarked, I directed McDowell to remain with his command, and the reasons were approved by the President.
Down to this period there had never been a shadow of difference between General McClellan and myself. It is true that I thought his plan of operations objectionable, as the most expensive, the most hazardous, and most protracted that could have been chosen, but I was not a military man, and, while he was in command, I would not interfere with his plan, and gave him every aid to execute it. But when the