PART III. - VOL. XI.
CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VIRGINIA, FROM MARCH 17 TO SEPTEMBER 2, 1862.
UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.*
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF THE POTOMAC,
Washington, August 8, 1861.
Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT,
Commanding U. S. Army:
GENERAL: Information from various sources reaching me to-day, through spies, letters, and telegrams, confirm my impressions, derived from previous advices, that the enemy intend attacking our positions on the other side of the river, as well as to cross the Potomac north of us. I have also received a telegram from a reliable agent just from Knoxville, Tenn., that large re-enforcements are still passing through there to Richmond. I am induced to believe that the enemy has at least 100,000 men in front of us.
Were I in Beauregard's place, with that force at my disposal, I would attack the positions on the other side of the Potomac, and at the same time cross the river above this city in force. I feel confident that our present army in this vicinity is entirely insufficient for the emergency, and it is deficient in all the arms of the service-infantry, artillery, and cavalry. I therefore respectfully and most earnestly urge that the garrisons of all places in our rear be reduced at once to the minimum absolutely necessary to hold them and that all the troops thus made available be forthwith forwarded to this city; that every company of regular artillery within reach be immediately ordered here to be mounted; that every possible means be used to expedite the forwarding of new regiments of volunteers to this capital without one hour's delay. I urge that nothing be left undone to bring up our force for the defense of this city to 10,000 men, before attending to any other point. I advise that at least eight or ten good Ohio and Indiana regiments may be telegraphed for from western Virginia, their places to be filled at once by the new troops from the same States, who will be at least reliable to fight behind the entrenchments which have been constructed there.
The vital importance of rendering Washington at once perfectly secure and its imminent danger impel me to urge these requests with the utmost carnestness, and that not an hour be lost in carrying them into execution.
A sense of duty which I cannot resist compels me to state that in my opinion military necessity demands that the Departments of North
* The communications following, dated August 8, 1861-March 3, 1862, were received too late for publication in Vol. V of this series.
1 R R-VOL XI, PT III