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11 Series I Volume XII-II Serial 16 - Second Manassas Part II

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Page 11 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

that they will have much more confidence in a united army than its separate fragments.

But you will reply, why not re-enforce me here, so that I can strike Richmond from my present position? To do this you said at our interview that you required 50,000 additional troops. I told you that it was impossible to give you so many. You finally thought you would have "some chance" of success with 20,000. But you afterward telegraphed to me that you would require 35,000, as the enemy was being largely re-enforced. If your estimate of the enemy's strength was correct, your requisition was perfectly reasonable, but it was utterly impossible to fill it until new troops could be enlisted and organized, which would require several weeks. To keep your army in its present position until it could be so re-enforced would almost destroy it in that climate. The months of August and September are almost fatal to whites who live on that part of James River.

And even after you got the re-enforcements asked for, you admitted that you must reduce Fort Darling and the river batteries before you could advance on Richmond. It is by no means certain that the reduction of these fortifications would not require considerable time, perhaps as much as those at Yorktown. This delay might not only be fatal to the health of your army, but in the mean time General Pope's forces wold be exposed to the heavy blows of the enemy, without the slightest hope of assistance from you.

In regard to the demoralizing effect of a withdrawal from the Peninsula to the Rappahannock, I must remark that a large number of your highest officers, indeed a majority of those whose opinions have been reported to me, are decidedly in favor of the movement. Even several of those who originally advocated the line of the Peninsula now advise its abandonment.

I have not inquired and do not desire to know by whose advice or for what reasons the Army of the Potomac was separated into two parts, with the enemy between them. I must take things as I find them. I find the forces divided and I wish to unite them. Only one feasible plan has been presented for doing this. If your or any one else had presented a better one I certainly should have adopted it, but all of your plans require re-enforcements, which it is impossible to give you. It is very easy to ask for re-enforcements, but it is not so easy to give them when you have no disposable troops at your command.

I have written very plainly as I understand the case, and I hope your will give me credit for having considered the matter, although I may have arrived at different conclusions from your own.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

[Exhibit Numbers 3.]


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
August 25 - 9 p. m.

Major-General HALLECK,

Commander-in-Chief:

The column of the enemy alluded to in my dispatch of 12.30 p. m. to-day passed Gaines' Cross-Roads, and when last seen, near sunset, was passing to the northeast, under the east base of Buck Mountain, in the direction of Salem and Rectortown. I am inclined to believe that this column is only covering the flank of the main body, which is moving


Page 11 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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