Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Major General George B. McClellan to Abraham Lincoln, June 20, 1862

Camp Lincoln, June 20, 18622 p. m.

Your Excellency's dispatch of 11 a.m. received, also that of General Sigel.

I have no doubt that Jackson has been re-enforced from here. There is reason to believe that General R. S. Ripley has recently joined Lee's army with a brigade or division from Charleston. Troops have arrived recently from Goldsborough. There is not the slightest reason to suppose that the enemy intends evacuating Richmond. He is daily increasing his defenses. I find him everywhere in force, and every reconnaissance costs many lives, yet I am obliged to feel my way foot by foot at whatever cost, so great are the difficulties of the country. By to-morrow night the defensive works covering our position on this side of the Chickahominy should be completed. I am forced to this by my inferiority in numbers, so that I may bring the greatest possible numbers into action and secure the army against the consequences of unforeseen disaster. I would be glad to have permission to lay before Your Excellency, by letter or telegraph, my views as to the present state of military affairs throughout the whole country. In the mean time I would be pleased to learn the disposition as to numbers and position of the troops not under my command in Virginia and elsewhere.

Major-General, Commanding.

His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 11, Part 1 (Serial No. 12), p. 48.  A copy of this telegram can be found in The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

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