enemy slowly back into his intrenchments at Richmond, and there to capture him, is an idea I have been trying to repudiate for quite a year. My judgment is so clear against it that I would scarcely allow the attempt to be made, if the general in command should desire to make it. My last attempt upon Richmond was to get McClellan, when he was nearer there than the enemy was, to run in ahead of him. Since then I have constantly desired the Army of the Potomac to make Lee's army, and not Richmond, its objective point. If our army cannot fall upon the enemy and hurt him where he is, it is plain to me it can gain nothing by attempting to follow him over a succession of intrenched lines into a fortified city.
SEPTEMBER 19, 1863-6. 30 p. m.
Commanding Officer Twelfth Corps:
The major-general commanding directs me to inquire of you if you received my dispatch of 1. 20 p. m. yesterday. It was sent by your orderly, and requested you to examine the vicinity of Morton's Ford (particularly with a view to ascertaining the feasibility of effecting a crossing of the army at that place) and give your views to him. The musketry you heard must have been the cavalry at Stevensburg discharging their carbines. No other report upon the subject than yours has reached these headquarters.
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General, and Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. TWELFTH CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
September 19, 1863.
Major General A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: In compliance with instructions contained in your letter of yesterday, I have examined the river from Raccoon Ford down to Stringfellow's Ford. I am of the opinion that a crossing cannot be effected at Raccoon Ford without great loss. At Morton's Ford it would be attended with less difficulty, by even at that point we should labor under many disadvantages. The approaches to this ford from both sides of the river are over a low, marshy ground about one-fourth of a mile in width. There are positions for artillery on this side of the river nearly as good as those on the opposite side, but the enemy have already thrown up one work to command this ford, and are, I think, constructing another.
At Stringfellow's Ford the bluffs approach nearer the river than at either of the other points, and I think a crossing could be effected there with less loss than at either of the other fords. I think, however, it would be necessary to throw a bridge across. I should judge from appearances that a better position could be secured there after crossing than at either of the other points. The enemy have thrown up a work to protect this ford, but I do not think the position has been well taken, and unless they further strengthen it, I think we could make a crossing there. If a crossing is contemplated, I would recommend that an engineer officer be sent here to examine the position. Judging from the camp fires and other indications, I