Today in History:

59 Series I Volume XI-III Serial 14 - Peninsular Campaign Part III


by yourself and the commanders of army corps makes no objection to the same, but gives the following directions as to its execution:

1st. Leave such force at Manassas Junction as shall make it entirely certain that the enemy shall not repossess himself of that position and line of communication.

2nd. Leave Washington entirely secure.

3rd. Move the remainder of the force down the Potomac, choosing a new base at Fort Monroe or anywhere between here and there; or at all events move such remainder of the army at once in pursuit of the enemy by some route.*

Transmitted 7 o'clock 45 minutes.


Secretary of War.


Steamer Commodore, April 1, 1862.

Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

GENERAL: I have to request that you will lay the following communication before the honorable Secretary of War:

The approximate numbers and positions of the troops left rear and in rear of the Potomac are about as follows:

General Dix has, after guarding the railroads under his charge, sufficient troops to give him 5,000 for the defense of Baltimore and 1,988 available for the Eastern Shore, Annapolis, &c. Fort Delaware is very well garrisoned by about 400 men.

The garrisons of the forts around Washington amount to 10,600 men; other disposable troops now with General Wadsworth being about 11,400 men.

The troops employed in guarding the various railways in Maryland amount to some 3,359 men. These it is designed to relieve, being old regiments, by dismounted cavalry, and to send forward to Manassas.

General Abercrombie occupied Warrenton with a force with, including Colonel Geary at White Plains and the cavalry to be at his disposal, will amount to some 7,780 men, with twelve pieces of artillery.

I have the honor to request that all the troops organized for service in Pennsylvania and New York and in any of the Eastern States may be ordered to Washington. I learn from Governor Curtin that there are some 3,500 men now ready in Pennsylvania. This force I should be glad to have sent at once to Manassas. Four thousand men from General Wadsworth I desire to be ordered to Manassas. These troops, with the railroad guard above alluded to, will make up a force under the command of General Abercrombie to something like 18,639 men.

It is my design to push General Blenker's division from Warrenton upon Strasburg. He should remain at Strasburg long enough to allow matters to assume a definite form in that region before proceeding to his ultimate destination.

The troops in the valley of the Shenandoah will thus-including Blenker's division, 10,028 strong, with twenty-four pieces of artillery; Banks' Fifth Corps, which embraces the command of General Shields, 19,687 strong, with forty-one guns; some 3,652 disposable cavalry,and the railroad guards, about 2,100 men-amount to about 35,467 men.


*See also Stanton to McClellan, March 13,5.20 p.m., and McClellan to Stanton, 6.15 p.m., same date, Series I. Vol. V., pp.750,751.