War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0084 OPERATIONS IN VA.,W.VA.,MID.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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the army in the direction of Culpeper and Gordonsville, and my own plan was as strongly adhered to by me. He declined to take the responsibility of issuing an order, but said that the whole matter would be left to the decision of the President, and, if the President approved my plan, I was to move the main army to Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, and there cross the Rappahannock on pontoon bridges, which were to be sent from Washington.

In my interview with General Halleck I represented to him that soon after commencing the movement in the direction of Fredericksburg my telegraphic communication with Washington would be broken, and that I relied upon him to see that such parts of my plan as required action in Washington would be carried out. He told me that everything required by me would receive his attention, and that he would at once order, by telegraph, the pontoon trains spoken of in my plan, and would, upon his return to Washington, see that they were promptly forwarded. After his return he sent me the following telegram:

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 14, 1862.


Commanding Army of the Potomac:

The President has just assented to your plan. He thinks it will succeed if you move rapidly; otherwise not. * * *



This dispatch was received at my headquarters, at Warrenton, at 11 o'clock on the morning of the 14th, and I at once issued orders for the different commands to move in accordance with the above-mentioned plan. The remark in this dispatch, indicating the great necessity for the speedy movement of the troops, was entirely in accordance with my own views, as the season was so for advanced that I looked for but little time in which to move the army effectively.

General Sumner's advance reached Falmouth on the 17th.* General Franklin concentrated his command at Stafford Court-House, and General Hooker his in the vicinity of Hartwood. The cavalry was in the rear, and covering the fords of the Rappahannock. The plan submitted by me on November 9 [see Appendix B] will explain fully the reasons for these movements. It contemplated, however, the prompt starting of pontoons from Washington. I supposed this would be attended to; but, feeling anxious to know something definite in regard to them before telegraphic communication with Washington should be interrupted, I directed Lieutenant Comstock, my chief engineer, on the morning of the 14th, to ask General Woodbury, by telegraph, if the pontoons were ready to move. Not receiving an immediate reply, I directed him to telegraph to General Woodbury a second time, urging him to forward the trains promptly.

To this second dispatch he received the following answer on the morning of the 15th:

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 14, 1862.

Lieutenant COMSTOCK:

I have received your two telegrams two-day. Captain Spaulding has arrived, and thirty-six pontoons have arrived. Forty more are expected in the morning. Captain Spaulding received Captain Duane's order of the 6th on the afternoon of the 12th. One pontoon train can be got ready to start on Sunday or Monday morning, November 16 or 17, depending somewhat upon the Quartermaster's Department. General