CAMP NEAR ALEXANDRIA, April 4, 1862.
Everything here has been changed. Just as we were on the eve of embarking, orders came to proceed by land to Manassas and beyond. The meaning of this change of movement no one knows. Some say it is due to the fears of the President for Washington; others that it is a traverse McDowell is working to get away from McClellan and go it on his own hook. I believe both causes have conspired to bring it about; but whatever the cause, it is gross injustice to McClellan to interrupt and interfere with his plans without consulting him. He has gone down to Old Point in the firm belief and dependence that McDowell and his corps of forty thousand men would go where he wanted them to go, instead of which he suddenly hears, or will hear, that they have gone, under the orders of some one else, in an entirely different direction. How any man can be expected to carry on a campaign when such interferences and derangement of plans are perpetrated, surpasses my comprehension. Remember, all this is confidential; not a word to any one about it. Franklin was off at daylight and King this afternoon; we (McCall's Division) have not yet gotten our orders, but expect them momentarily. So far as going by land is concerned, I am quite satisfied with the change; but I do not like the apparent want of decision involved in the sudden changing of plans, and I fear, unless we have a head and one mind to plan, that the old adage of too many cooks, etc., will be verified.
SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 256