Today in History:

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


been drilled for some months in artillery service, have been withdrawn from the forts on the south side of the Potomac, and I have only been able to fill their places with very new infantry regiments entirely unacquainted with the duties of that arm, and of little or no value in their present position.

I am not informed of the position which Major-General Banks is directed to take, but at this time he is, as I understand, on the other side of the Bull Run Mountains, leaving my command to cover the front from Manassas Gap (about 20 miles beyond Manassas) to Aquia Creek.

I deem it my duty to state that, looking at the numerical strength and character of the force under my command, it is my judgment entirely inadequate to and unfit for the important duty to which it is assigned.

I regard it very improbable that the enemy will assail us at this point, but this belief is based upon the hope that they may be promptly engaged elsewhere and may not learn the number and character of the force left here.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


WASHINGTON, D. C., April 2, 1862.

In compliance with your instructions we have examined the papers submitted to us, and have the honor to make the following report:

1. The President's War Order, No. 3, dated March 8, requires that on taking up any new base of operations the city of Washington shall be left entirely secure. The other points of the order it is unnecessary to consider, as the enemy, since its date, have abandoned their position and batteries on the Potomac and retired behind the Rappahannock.

2. The council of general officers held at Fairfax Court-House, March 13, took place after the enemy had retired from Manassas and destroyed the railroads in their rear. The council decided unanimously to take up a new base of operations from Fort Monroe, and three of the generals, a majority, decided that the force necessary to be left should be sufficient to "fully garrison" the forts on the right bank of the Potomac, and to "occupy" those on the left bank with a covering force of 25,000. It is, we think, the judgment of officers that some 30,000 men would be necessary thus to man these forts, which, with the number of the covering force, would make a total of 55,000.

3. The President's directions of March 13 to General McClellan directs:

1st. To leave such a force at Manassas Junction as shall make it entirely certain that the enemy may not repossess it.

2nd. That Washington shall be left entirely secure.

3rd. That the remainder of the army move down the Potomac or move in pursuit of the enemy.

In regard to occupying Manassas Junction, as the enemy have destroyed the railroads leading to it it may be fair to assume that they have no intention of returning for the reoccupation of their late position, and therefore no very large force would be necessary to hold that position.

4. Major-General McClellan's report to the Adjutant-General of April 1, after giving the several positions of the troops proposed to be left for the defense of Washington, gives a representation as follows: