War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0794 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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This order, to have one more complete train mounted and horsed, is the first and only order I have received as to land transportation. I returned the following answer, which explains why I did not fit out the additional train:


Washington, D. C., November 14, 1862.

Lieutenant COMSTOCK,

Headquarters General Burnside:

I have received your two telegrams to-day. Captain Spaulding has arrived, and 36 pontoons have arrived; 40 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 Sunday or Monday morning, depending somewhat on the Quartermaster's Department. General Halleck is not inclined to send another train by land, but will allow it probably if General Burnside insists. A second train can be sent by water to Aquia Creek, and from thence transported by the teams which carry the first.


Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

I regarded, however, the order of Major Spaulding precisely as if directed to me. I did all I could to hasten his preparations. He had four companies under his command; is a most excellent officer; had great experience, and I am confident made his preparations faster than any other officer in Washington could have done.

In saying, November 14, that one pontoon train can be got ready to start Sunday or Monday morning, depending somewhat upon the Quartermaster's Department, I took Major Spaulding's own estimate. Finding that he could not get off Monday morning, or indeed Monday afternoon, I addressed the following telegram to Lieutenant Comstock:


Washington, D. C., November 17, 1862-7 p.m.

Lieutenant COMSTOCK, Engineers,

General Burnside's Headquarters, Army of the Potomac:

Major Spaulding has not been able to get off to-day; he expects to start at 10 a.m. to-morrow. I will telegraph when he leaves.

For General Woodbury:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-Forty-eight pontoon boats were sent to Aquia Creek yesterday.

On the 18th, the next day, I sent the following telegram:


Washington, D. C., November 18, 1862.

Lieutenant COMSTOCK,

(Or, in his absence, chief of General Burnside's staff):

Major Spaulding has been delayed in obtaining horses, teamsters, &c., for 270 new horses. He expects to start to-night.


Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

In this connection, allow me to say that I have never received, from any source whatever, any information relative to the necessity or importance of a pontoon train other than that conveyed by the two telegrams of Lieutenant Comstock. General Halleck had directed me at first by telegraph, afterward verbally, to take bridge material down to Aquia Creek, but no one informed me that the success of any important movement depended in the slightest degree upon a pontoon train to leave Washington by land. Without such instructions, which, I think, should have been made to me, I had no sufficient grounds to seize teams or teamsters in Washington, regardless of forms. I was left entirely to