War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0812 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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Washington, D. C., November 30, 1862.

Major-General BURNSIDE,

Aquia Creek:

The refugee Quinn, from Richmond, whose statement you directed last night to be taken, by the judge-advocate, has not returned. He is known to be a spy, and was here at the War Department about nine months ago. If he went down the river with you this morning, arrest him and his companions immediately, and send them in close custody to this Department. Advise by telegraph what you do.


Assistant Secretary of War.

Plan of winter campaign.*

BROOKE'S STATION, VA., November 30, 1862.

It is now pretty well established that the main body of rebels is in position around Fredericksburg, engaged in throwing up breastworks, and intend to dispute the passage of the Rappahannock.

The original intention on our part, in changing our line of operations, was, undoubtedly, to surprise a passage of the river, and at least get a position on the other side before the rebels could be apprised of our intentions, and get down there from Culpeper, and then to push on to Hanover Junction, on our way to Richmond, cutting their line of retreat, interrupting their supplies and re-enforcements, and perhaps fighting one great battle.

On our arrival here, no means of crossing in force were at hand; the surprise failed, and the railroad being out of order, we were obliged to wait for supplies and the bridge train the enemy, apprised of our movement, was enabled to throw his whole army around Fredericksburg.

By the time we can get up supplies sufficient to start for Richmond, a comparatively small force will be enabled to dispute successfully the passage of the river to a very large one.

Suppose we succeed in forcing the passage. The character of the roads is well known, and a single hard rain will put them in such a condition that our weak teams will not be able even to drag our artillery, to say nothing of our supplies, which have first to be brought over 12 miles of railroad, the protection of which will require a large force.

It will take at least three weeks to repair the bridge over the Rappahannock, and then it will be carried away by the first heavy rain. It was destroyed three times last summer by floods.

By the time we are able to leave the vicinity of Fredericksburg, we are in the middle of winter, and in a climate where we cannot depend upon frozen ground as a means of carrying along our artillery and wagons.

The enemy can take up a position where their batteries will be comparatively stationary, while ours must be moved along and worked in the mud. He will, of course, tear up the track, and when we repair it, every foot must be well protected or he will make raids upon it and destroy it. This will require a very large portion of our force.

The distance from Fredericksburg to Richmond is 60 miles, so that we have 72 miles of road to guard against the enemy and the weather.


*Found among General Burnside's papers.