I am not prepared to say that every effort has not been made to carry out the other parts of the plan; but I must, in honesty and candor, say that I cannot feel that the move indicated in my plan of operations will be successful after two very important parts of the plan have not been carried out, no matter for what reason.
The President said that the movement, in order to be successful, must be made quickly, and I thought the same.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE.
General G. W. CULLUM,
Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 20, 1862.
Major General JOSEPH HOOKER,
Commanding Center Grand Division:
GENERAL: Your communication of the 19th instant is this moment received, and I am directed by the general commanding to say that, as an independent movement, the one proposed by you would be a very brilliant one, and possibly successful; but, taken in connection with the movements of the other grand divisions, he is of the opinion that it would be a little premature. He has given that subject a great deal of though, but he is, nevertheless, very much obliged to you, as he always will be, for any suggestions you may make. He would not think of making an important movement of this army without full consultation with his generals. The object of leaving you in your present position was to throw at least your infantry and cavalry force over one or more of the fords opposite you; and, with a view to that, he has ordered a careful reconnaissance of the United States Ford, that being the one nearest to you. The general will try to visit you to-day, when the subject can be talked over. He will make a few suggestions for your consideration in the mean time.
From your position to Saxton's Station, by way of United States Ford, is a distance of 36 miles. By way of Richards' Ford and Ely's Ford, on the Rapidan, is a distance of 43 miles. By way of Barnett's Ford and Ely's Ford, is a distance of 50 miles. The United States Ford is said not to be passable for artillery or wagons. Richards' Ford is represented to be very poor, barely passable for artillery or wagons. By going over either of the upper fords, you will have to cross, in addition, Ely's Ford, which will give at least a day's detention, which, taken together with the distance you would have to march at Saxton's Station, would leave you at that place without provisions and beyond supporting distance of the other columns, as the bridge is not yet constructed, and he has been informed that the heavy rains of last night have probably rendered the fords impassable. He is not positive in regard to this information, but will be able to let you know to-night. The same reasons will apply for not being able to furnish you with provisions from this point, even had a surplus arrived and been landed. The remainder of the commands are not as well supplied at this moment as yours.
General Porter's corps was stationed at a place on the Manassas Rail road where they had fine opportunity for drawing stores, and General Stoneman sent his wagons direct to Alexandria. With reference to being supplied from Port Royal, the general begs to say that he made a suggestion to the War Department to send a large portion of the supplies up the Rappahannock River, under convoy of light-draught gun