Today in History:

13 Series I Volume XXIX-II Serial 49 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part II


ever small, will be guarded. The guard at Warrenton Junction will be increased to the number recommended in the inspector's report.

The whole line of the road should be frequently inspected. The officer in command at Manassas Junction should ascertain the point at which the guarding of the road by General King's command ceases, and, if practicable, extend his protection to that point. The major-general commanding desires to know where the protection of the road by General King's forces ceases. He directs me to say that guarding the road is esteemed a very important duty, and that its protection cannot be effective without strict vigilance on the part of those to whom it is intrusted.


Major-General, and Chief of Staff.

Washington, D. C., August 7, 1863

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of General Orders, Numbers 274, in advance of printed copies. This order is based on that of General Taylor in moving from the Rio Grande on Monterey, but the allowance is more liberal, and yet, I have no doubt, many will consider it niggardly, being so much below that formerly permitted to the Army of the Potomac. I am satisfied, however, from the experience of General Grant in Mississippi, and of General West in his march from California to New Mexico, that there is no necessity for the large trains heretofore allowed, and for which there is no parallel in European warfare. I am satisfied, moreover, that when our armies become accustomed to this allowance, it may be still further reduced without any serious inconvenience.

On thing is certain, we must reduce our transportation or give up all idea of competing with the enemy in the field. Napoleon very correctly estimated the effective strength of an army by its numbers multiplied by its mobility; that is, 10,000 men who could march 20 miles per day as equal to 20,000 men who could march only 10 miles per day. Unless we an reduce our impedimenta very considerably, we can equal the enemy only by a vast superiority in numbers.

While your army is inactive this matter should be thoroughly studied, and the land transportation reduced to a much lower standard. By comparison with other armies now in the field, and our armies in the Mexican war, as well as with European armies in campaign. I am satisfied a very great reduction can be made in the transportation of the Army of the Potomac, and moreover, until this reduction is actually made, we can expect no decided successes in the field by that army, no matter how much heroic bravery it may exhibit on the battle-field. I understand from General Ingalls that a very great reduction of transportation has been made within the last month.

During this extreme heat, troops and animals should be moved as little as possible.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,