Today in History:

5 Series I Volume XI-I Serial 12 - Peninsular Campaign Part I


No. 1. Report of Major General George B. McClellan,

U. S. Army,commanding Army of the Potomac.

NEW YORK, August 5, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit herein the official report of the operations of the Army of the Potomac while under my charge. Accompanying it are the reports of the corps, division, and subordinate commanders pertaining to the various engagements, battles, and occurrences of the campaigns, and important documents connected with its organization, supply, and movements. These, with list of maps and memoranda submitted, will be found appended, duly arranged, and marked for convenient reference:*

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The council composed of the four corps commanders, organized by the President of the United States at its meeting on the 13th of March, adopted Fort Monroe as the base of operations for the movements of the Army of the Potomac upon Richmond.+ For the prompt and successful execution of the projected operation it was regarded by all as necessary that the whole of the corps should be employed, with at least the addition of 10,000 men drawn from the forces in the vicinity of Fortress Monroe; that position and its dependencies being regarded as amply protected by the naval force in its neighborhood and the advance of the main army up the Peninsula, so that it could be safely left with a small garrison.

In addition to the land forces, the co-operation of the Navy was desired in the projected attack upon the batteries at Yorktown and Gloucester, as well as in controlling the York and James River, for the protection of our flanks and the use of the transports bringing supplies to the army. With these expectations, and for reason stated elsewhere in this report, my original plan of moving by Urbana and West Point was abandoned,and the line with Forth Monroe as a base adopted. In the arrangements for the transportation of the army to the Peninsula by water the vessels were originally ordered to rendezvous mainly at Annapolis; but upon the evacuation of Manassas and the batteries of the Lower Potomac by the enemy it became more convenient to embark the troops and material at Alexandria, and orders to that effect were at once given.

In making the preliminary arrangements for the movement it was determined that the First Corps, General McDowell's should move as a unit first, and effect a landing either at the Sand-box, some 4 miles south of Yorktown, in order to turn all the enemy's defenses at Ship Point, Howard's Bridge, Big Bethel, &c., or else, should existing circumstances render it preferable, land on the Gloucester side of York River and move on West Point.

The transports, however, arrived slowly and few at time. In order,


*So much of this report as relate to the "First Period" will be found in Series I, Vol. V, pp.1-66.

+See Series I, Vol. V. p.55.