Camp Jones. — Rained all night; weather cold. Water must again be abundant. Gradually cleared off about 3 or 4 P. M.
Dispatches state that McClellan has swung his right wing around and pushed his left towards James River, touching the river at Turkey Island, fifteen miles from Richmond. Is this a voluntary change of plan, or is it a movement forced by an attack? These questions find no satisfactory response in the dispatches. Some things look as if we had sustained a reverse. (1.) It is said the move was “necessitated by an attack in great force on Thursday.” (2.) All communication with Washington was cut off for two or three days. (3.) We have had repeated reports that the enemy had turned our right wing. (4.) The singular denial of rumors that our army had sustained a defeat, viz., that “no information received indicated a serious disaster.” (5.) The general mystery about the movement.
It may have been according to a change of plan. I like the new position. If we are there uninjured, with the aid of gunboats and transports on James River, we ought soon to cripple the enemy at Richmond.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 295