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force should also co-operate with the main army in its efforts to seize the important seaboard towns of the rebels.
“It cannot be ignored that the construction of railroads has introduced a new and very important element into war, by the great facilities thus given for concentrating at particular positions large masses of troops from remote sections, and by creating new strategic points and lines of operations.
“It is intended to overcome this difficulty by the partial operations suggested, and such others as the particular case may require. We must endeavor to seize places on the railways in the rear of the enemy's points of concentration, and we must threaten their seaboard cities, in order that each State may be forced, by the necessity of its own defence, to diminish its contingent to the Confederate army.
“The proposed movement down the Mississippi will produce important results in this connection. That advance and the progress of the main army at the East will materially assist each other, by diminishing the resistance to be encountered by each.
“The tendency of the Mississippi movement upon all questions connected with cotton is too well understood by the President and Cabinet to need any illustration from me.
“There is another independent movement that has often been suggested, and which has always recommended itself to my judgment. I refer to a movement from Kansas and Nebraska, through the Indian Territory, upon Red River and Western Texas, for the purpose of protecting and developing the latent Union and free-State sentiment well known to predominate in Western Texas, and which, like a similar sentiment in Western Virginia, will, if protected, ultimately organize that section into a free State. How far it will be possible to support this movement by an advance through New Mexico from Cali
fornia, is a matter which I have not sufficiently examined to be able to express a decided opinion. If at all practicable, it is eminently desirable, as bringing into play the resources and warlike qualities of the Pacific States, as well as identifying them with our cause and cementing the bond of union between them and the General Government.
“If it is not departing too far from my province, I will venture to suggest the policy of an intimate alliance and cordial understanding with Mexico: their sympathies and interests are with us,-their antipathies exclusively against our enemies and their institutions. I think it would not be difficult to obtain from the Mexican Government the right to use, at least during the present contest, the road from Guaymas to New Mexico: this concession would very materially reduce the obstacles of the column moving from the Pacific. A similar permission to use their territory for the passage of troops between the Panuco and the Rio Grande would enable us to throw a column of troops by a good road from Tampico, or some of the small harbors north of it, upon and across the Rio Grande, without risk and scarcely firing a shot.
“To what extent, if any, it would be desirable to take into service and employ Mexican soldiers, is a question entirely political, on which I do not venture to offer an opinion.
“The force I have recommended is large; the expense is great. It is possible that a smaller force might accomplish the object in view; but I understand it to be the purpose of this great nation to re-establish the power of its Government, and to restore peace to its citizens, in the shortest possible time.
“The question to be decided is simply this: shall we crush the rebellion at one blow, terminate the war in one campaign, or shall we leave it for a legacy to our descendants ?
“When the extent of the possible line of operations is considered, the force asked for the main army under my command cannot be regarded as unduly large. Every mile we advance carries us farther from our base of operations, and renders detachments necessary to cover our communications, while the enemy will be constantly concentrating as he falls back. I propose, with the force which I have requested, not only to drive the enemy out of Virginia and occupy Richmond, but to occupy Charleston, Savannah, Montgomery, Pensacola, Mobile, and New Orleans; in other words, to move into the heart of the enemy's country and crush out the rebellion in its very heart.
"By seizing and repairing the railroads as we advance, the difficulties of transportation will be materially diminished. It is perhaps unnecessary to state that, in addition to the forces named in this memorandum, strong reserves should be formed, ready to supply any losses that may occur.
“In conclusion, I would submit that the exigencies of the treasury may be lessened by making only partial payments to our troops when in the enemy's country, and by giving the obligations of the United States for such supplies as may there be obtained.
“GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN,
General McClellan, speaking of this memorandum in his Report, written two years after, says,
“I do not think the events of the war have proved these views upon the methods and plans of its conduct altogether incorrect. They certainly have not proved my estimate of the number of troops and scope of operations too large. It is probable that I did underestimate the time necessary for the completion of arms and equipments. It was not strange, however, that by many civi
lians intrusted with authority there should have been an exactly opposite opinion held in both these particulars.”
This simple and modest statement is read with melancholy interest by the light of the events which have transpired since the date of the memorandum. And that portion of the American peoplewe believe, the larger portion—which is willing to hear before it judges, will not fail to recognize in the memorandum itself the sagacious and comprebensive views of a man who has carefully studied the problem before him, and believe that he had found a solution for it. It steers clear of the safe generalities in which mediocrity takes refuge, as well as the wild predictions that rash self-confidence is apt to make. His conclusions are drawn from a wide and patient survey of the field before him. Here is a plan broad in its scope and well considered in its details. It may be that the event might not, under any circumstances, have responded to his expectations; it may be that the soldier might not have had the means to execute what the statesman had conceived: it is enough to know that the opportunity was never given him to try the experiment fairly. When he spoke of the possibility of ending the war by a single campaign, he perhaps underestimated both the moral and material forces arrayed against him; but, in the multitude of predictions as to the duration of the war which have not come to pass, an anticipation like this will not be treasured up against him.
For some weeks after the date of the above memorandum, the work of organizing and arranging
the troops went on diligently and uninterruptedly, and on the 15th of October the grand aggregate of the forces in and around Washington was one hundred and fifty-two thousand and fifty-one, of whom one hundred and thirty-three thousand two hundred and one were present and fit for active duty. The infantry was arranged in brigades of four regiments each, and divisions of three brigades each were gradually formed, with artillery and cavalry attached to each division as far as was practicable. The formation into corps was to be postponed until the army had been for some time in the field, as were recommendations for the promotion of officers to the rank of major-generals till actual trial in service had shown who were best fitted for these important posts.
On the 15th of October, the main body of the Army of the Potomac was in the immediate vicinity of Washington, with detachments on the left bank of the river as far down as Liverpool Point and as far up as Williamsport and its vicinity. General Dix was at Baltimore, General Banks at Darnestown, and General Stone at Poolesville.
On the 21st of October, the disastrous engagement at Ball's Bluff took place. Efforts have been made to connect the name of General McClellan with this affair; but the facts in the case, and especially the testimony taken by the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, show that the reconnoissances directed by him had been brought to a close during the preceding day, and that the movements which led to the battle of the 21st were