Washington City, December 20, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington City:
GENERAL: I respectfully request that the Navy Department be requested to cause a powerful gunboat to be ordered into the Potomac, to assist in keeping open the river, which the cold weather threatens to obstruct with ice. I made verbal application, some time since, to the Secretary of the Navy, suggesting the propriety and necessity of such a precaution. I have been informed that the boat formerly known as the Philadelphia City Ice Boat, probably the best boat fitted for this purpose, is now in the Navy, employed as a gunboat. I have given orders to endeavor to charter two steamers in New York or Philadelphia, but fear that it will not be possible to procure efficient vessels for this purpose, and, if the cold continues to increase, there will be full employment for all that can be collected in transporting supplies through the ice to Aquia Creek.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
DECEMBER 21, 1862.
Respectfully referred to the Secretary of War.
It is deemed important that this application be made immediately.
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS LEFT GRAND DIVISION, December 20, 1862.
To the PRESIDENT:
The undersigned, holding important commands in the Army of the Potomac, impressed with the belief that a plan of operations of this army may be devised which will be crowned with success, and that the plan of campaign which has already been commenced cannot possibly be successful, present, with diffidence, the following views for consideration. Whether the plan proposed be adopted or not, they consider it their duty to present there views, thinking that, perhaps, they may be suggestive to some other military mind in discussing plans for the future operations of our armies in the East.
1. We believe that the plan of campaign already commenced will not be successful for the following reasons: First. The distance from this point to Richmond is 61 miles. It will be necessary to keep up our communication with Aquia Creek Landing from all points of this route. To effect this, the presence of large bodies of troops on the road will be necessary at many points. The result of making these detachments would be that the enemy will attack them, interrupt the communications, and the army will be obliged to return to drive them away. If the railroad be rebuilt as the army marches, it will be so enormous that a great deal of the strength of the army will be required to guard them, and the troops will be so separated by the trains, and the roads so blocked by them, that the advance and rear of the army could not be within supporting distance of each other.