War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0549 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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would be an attack by a number or swift steamers full of men, who should board her by a sudden rush, fir edown through her hatches or grated deck, and throw cartridges or shells down her smoke pipe. Sacrifice the steamers in order to retake the Merrimac. If an overwhelming force can be thus thrown on board, there will be little loss of life, though the steamer transports may be destroeyed. Of course, the steamer s should be provided with ladders, planks, and grapples to board with. The Merrimac has iron sides, sloping above water to a deck about nine feet wide, said to be an iron-grated deck. promotion, ample reward awaits whoever takes or destroys her. You, of course, have a swift steamer outside on the lookout.

By order of the Secretary of War:

M. C. MEIGS,

Quartermaster-General.

[5.]

WASHINGTON, March 9, 1862-11 a. m.

Major General J. A. DIX,

Baltimore, Md.:

Merrimac sunk the Cumberland; the congress surrendered. Minnesota and St. Lawrence ran aground approaching scene of contest. At 8.30 last night Merrimac had retired to Craney Island. Please be fully on alert. See that Fort Carroll is placed in a condition for defense as rapidly as possible in case Merrimac should run by Fort Monroe. Until further orders stop passage of army transports passing from Philadelphia to Annapolis and Perryville by canal. What is condition of Fort Carroll?

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN,

Major-General, U. S. Army.

[5.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

March 9, 1862.

General J. E. WOOL,

Fort Monroe:

General Dix has been ordered to send you 4,000 men as rapidly as possible. Do you want any more re-enforcements for defensive purposes?

R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff.

[9.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Washington, March 10, 1862.

General N. P. BANKS,

Charlestown, Va.:

Information from various sources goes to show that the enemy has abandoned Centreville and probably Manassas. All their batteries on the Potomac have been abandoned. Some of our scouts say that a part of the forces from Manassas have gone to Winchester. I think you would do well to endeavor to ascertain if any re-enforcements have reached Winchester or en route. General Dana is ready this morning to move to Harper's Ferry if his canal-boats have arrived. He will be directed to report to you from Harper's Ferry.

R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff.

[5.]