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As I did not think it probable that any re-enforcements would be sent me in time for the advance on Richmond, I stated in the foregoing dispatch that I should be ready to move when General McCall’s division joined me; but I did not intend to be understood by this that no more re-enforcements were wanted, as will be seen from the following dispatch:
JUNE 10, 1862—3.30 p. m.
I have again information that Beauregard has arrived, and that some of his troops are to follow him. No great reliance—perhaps none whatever—can be attached to this; but it is possible, and ought to be their policy.
I am completely checked by the weather. The roads and fields are literally impassable for artillery; almost so for infantry. The Chickahominy is in a dreadful state. We have another rain-storm on our hands. I shall attack as soon as the weather and ground will permit; but there will be a delay, the extent of which no one can foresee, for the season is altogether abnormal.
In view of these circumstances I present for your consideration the propriety of detaching largely from Halleck’s army to strengthen this, for it would seem that Halleck has now no large organized force in front of him, while we have. If this cannot be done, or even in connection with it allow me to suggest the movement of a heavy column from Dalton upon Atlanta. If but the one can be done, it would better conform to military principles to strengthen this army. And even although the [p.47] re en-forcements might not arrive in season to take part in the attack upon Richmond, the moral effect would be great, and they would furnish valuable assistance in ulterior movements.
I wish to be distinctly understood that whenever the weather permits I will attack with whatever force I may have, although a larger force would enable me to gain much more decisive results.
I would be glad to have McCall’s infantry sent forward by water at once, without waiting for his artillery and cavalry.
If General Prim returns via Washington please converse with him as to the condition of affairs here.
G.EO. B. McCLELLAN,
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
Our work upon the bridges continued to be pushed forward vigorously until the 20th, during which time it rained almost every day, and the exposure of the men caused much sickness.
On the 11th the following was received from the Secretary of War:
WASHINGTON, June 11, 1862.
Your dispatch of 3.30 yesterday has been received. I am fully impressed with the difficulties mentioned, and which no art or skill can avoid, but only endure, and am striving to the uttermost to render you every aid in the power of the Government. Your suggestions will be immediately communicated to General Halleck, with a request that he shall conform to them. At last advices he contemplated sending a column to operate with Mitchel against Chattanooga, and thence upon East Tennessee. Buell reports Kentucky and Tennessee to be in a critical condition, demanding immediate attention. Halleck says the main body of Beauregard’s force is with him at Okolona. McCall’s force was reported yesterday as having embarked and on its way to join you. It is intended to send the residue of McDowell’s force also to join you as speedily as possible.
Frémont had a hard fight day before yesterday with Jackson’s force at Union Church, 5 miles from Harrisonburg. He claims the victory, but was pretty badly handled. It is clear that a strong force is operating with Jackson for the purpose of detaining the forces here from you. I am urging as fast as possible the new levies.
Be assured, general, that there never has been a moment when my desire has been otherwise than to aid you with my whole heart, mind, and strength since the hour we first met; and whatever others may say for their own purposes, you have never had, and never can have, any one more truly your friend, or more anxious to support you, or more joyful than I shall be at the success which I have no doubt will soon be achieved by your arms.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN.
On the 12th and 13th General McCall’s division arrived.
Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.46-47
web page Rickard, J (20 June 2006)