across Bull Run; four regiments at Centreville; two regiments at Chantilly, and one regiment guarding the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Bull Run to Cedar Run, where we connect with the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac. Out of this force (32,982) the camp of light artillery instruction is not available. The regiment on the railway to Annapolis Junction cannot be withdrawn. The six regiments of artillery and two batteries occupying the forts from the Chain Bridge to the Potomac beyond the Eastern Branch cannot be reduced. There are fifty-six forts and batteries to be occupied by 5,329 men. The garrison of Washington (3,630 men), guarding so much valuable property and keeping order, cannot well be reduced. The military governor complains now that the troops are overworked, and has asked for more.
Alexandria has 1,694 men,also guarding much valuable property and keeping order. It would not be prudent to diminish this garrison. I hold Vienna with a small force, to enable the quartermaster's department to obtain wood, &c. This force I would increase if I had the troops.
To guard the long line of forts from Fort Marcy, above the Chain Bridge, to the Potomac below Alexandria, are but six regiments, the Third Battalion New York Artillery (360) and two light artillery batteries. I do not include the Sixteenth Virginia (392) as they have been recommended to be disbanded. It is very evident that no part of this force can be withdrawn without great detriment to the service. There are sixty-two fortss and batteries, to be occupied by 5,988 men. From Hunting Creek north to the Potomac, there are about 11,000 yards of rifle-pits.
This leaves but General Abercrombie's division of 8,581 men to be considered. To withdraw this would compel the abandonment of the Occoquan, Bull Run, and the railroad to the defenses in front of Alexandria, and the quartermaster's station at Vienna. It would be virtually giving up to the enemy all the country up to the fortifications on the south side of the Potomac, and much closer than they were at any time two winters ago, when their flag waved for so many weeks in sight of our Capitol.
Our cavalry would be powerless to prevent incursions even between our forts, as all the rifle-pits would be unoccupied. I very reluctantly spared the 10,000 men sent to General Dix at his pressing need, as it forced me to abandon the two important positions of Minor's and Upton's Hills.
I inclose a roster* of the troops in the defenses, as it shows, perhaps, more clearly the disposition of the troops.
The Army of the Potomac operating so low down the Rappahannock as Fredericksburg, should we remove the troops that now hold the fortifications of Centreville and the positions in the vicinity, would throw open to the enemy all the country on the Upper Rappahannock and the Valley of the Shenandoah, permitting them to send troops without interruption to operate as far as the Potomac on our defenses south of that river, and still preserving to themselves a secure line of retreat beyond the Blue Ridge. I am decidedly of the opinion that no more troops can be spared from the Defenses of Washington.
S. P. HEINTZELMAN,
*Not found. See Stanton to the President, May 19, p. 503.