of the movable corps, are less than one-half, and, including that corps, only about two-thirds of those estimates. It should also be borne in mind that many of these are comparatively far troops, who have never been under fire. It has always been the policy to send the best troops into the field. Most of those here are not of the first class.
None of the troops guarding the Baltimore Railroad and the Potomac River can be safely withdrawn, except in case of extreme emergency.
In regard to sending the movable corps of 8,600 men into the field, I would remark that, if this should be done, it will be necessary to abandon the line of the Bull Run and the Occoquan, to destroy the Alexandria Railroad, and withdraw all troops south of the Potomac to the of fortifications. Moreover, we should then have no movable force to throw upon any point which should be seriously threatened.
If the Army of the Potomac should cross the Rappahannock above Fredericksburg, this force could be moved out to co-operate as a reserve. If that army should cross at or below Fredericksburg, it would, in my opinion, be exceedingly hazardous to remove this force from the vicinity of Washington. This remark equally applies to the supposition that the Army of the Potomac remains inactive in its present position.
If that army should cross the Rappahannock and win a victory, there would be no apprehensions for the safety of Maryland and Washington. If it should be defeated, then there would be good cause for such apprehensions. But judging the future from the past, there is likely to be a third contingency, that is, that the Army of the Potomac may for some time remain inactive.
It is proper to consider the consequences of this inactivity. In that case, Lee's army will have three plans from which to choose.
1. To cross the Rappahannock, attack Hooker's army, and risk the result of a general battle. Lee is as prudent as able, and I do not think he will run this risk.
2. To make a demonstration on Washington, Maryland, or Harper's Ferry, and seek to regain possession of Norfolk. This is by no means improbable.
3. To make a feint upon Norfolk, and a real movement in force on Washington, Maryland, or Harper's Ferry. Such an operation, with an active army and an energetic commander, in the position now occupied by the Army of the Potomac, would be exceedingly hazardous. Nevertheless it may be attempted, as Lee's army can move with much greater rapidity than ours.
It is also very probable that Lee will maneuver so as to leave us in doubt what his real intentions are. While he makes demonstration in both directions, we shall probably know his real intentions only after the blow is actually struck.
Under these circumstances, I think it my duty to urge the retention of the present force in Washington or its vicinity.
When I visited Falmouth with the President, I informed General Hooker (in the presence of the President) what troops we had here, and told him that, in my opinion, he could calculate upon no re-enforcements from this place, unless upon the line of the Upper Rappahannock. He then said, most emphatically, that he had all the troops he wished, and all he could use with advantage. He also said that, notwithstanding the losses of the battle of Chancellorsville and the discharge of troops whose services were about expiring, he would have left about 100,000 men, which was all he could employ to advantage.
It is proper to remark in this place that General Hooker has never estimated General Lee's forces over 70,000 men. Others, who have had