War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0807 Chapter XXXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

WASHINGTON, November 28, 1862.

Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:

I was told by the President that you wound be in Washington last night to consult in regard to re-enforcements. Will you be here to-day or to-morrow, and, if so, about what time?

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Near Falmouth, November 28, 1862.

Major-General HOOKER,

Commanding Center Grand Division:

GENERAL: I have shown your report of the capture of some of our cavalry to the commanding general. He is perfectly satisfied you will give the matter a thorough investigation, and take the necessary steps. He desired me to inform you that he has gone to Washington, having been called there by the President. The road to Belle Plain is represented as being greatly in need of repair, and I have been directed by Major-General Sumner to request that you place a strong regiment, well supplied with axes, to-morrow on that duty. Much corduroying is required. General Sumner will also have a regiment detailed from his command.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNumbers G. PARKE,

Chief of Staff.

WASHINGTON, November 28, 1862.

Colonel J. C. KELTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I herewith transmit a paper,* prepared by Colonel Alexander, respecting the route of approach to Richmond and the construction of roads. I concur with him mainly. I concur in the inadequacy of the single-track railroad from Fredericksburg to Richmond, and I believe the exposure to flank attack will make the communication still more inadequate. This statement of Colonel Alexander, and the experience so far acquired, show the difficulty of moving and feeding an army of adequate numbers to fight the concentrated rebel armies, and to besiege Richmond over any one route. It shows that by whatever route we approach we expose Washington; that we require, to make a sure thing, enormous superiority of numbers in Virginia; that, all things considered, the James River is probably better than any other single line of approach; that it is difficult to handle and feed an army sufficiently large on any one route. I suggest, with diffidence, that the quickest results may be obtained from-while prosecuting with the utmost vigor the attack by the Rappahannock, and thus fixing near that river the bulk of the enemy's forces-throwing an army of, say, 50,000 men upon the south side of the James, at Port Walthall,or somewhere in that vicinity. This force could seize all the routes by which Richmond communicates with the South, and control the navigation of the canal; would have Richmond under its cannon, even if it should fail to force the passage of the river and seize the city itself, and it could not

---------------

*See p.1117.

---------------