Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
					Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.

Major

CONTRABANDS

Report #4

LETTERS, REPORTS AND ORDERS
(Complete)
 

SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 128 Volumes. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. 


COLD HARBOR,
May 25, 1862.


Telegram received. Independently of it, the time is very near when I shall
attack Richmond. The object of the movement is probably to prevent
re-enforcements being sent to me. All the information obtained from
balloons, deserters, prisoners, and contrabands agrees in the statement
that the mass of the rebel troops are still in the immediate vicinity of
Richmond, ready to defend it. I have no knowledge of Banks' position and
force nor what there is at Manassas; therefore cannot form a definite
opinion as to the force against him.
I have two corps across Chickahominy, within 6 miles of Richmond; the
others on this side at other crossings within same distance, and ready to
cross when bridges are completed.


GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding.

*********************

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
In reply to which I received the following from the President:
WASHINGTON, May 28, 1862.


I am very glad of General F. J. Porter's victory. Still, if it was a total
rout of the enemy, I am puzzled to know why the Richmond and Fredericksburg
Railroad was not seized again, as you say you have all the railroads but
the Richmond and Fredericksburg. I am puzzled to see how, lacking that, you
can have any, except the scrap from Richmond to West Point. The scrap of
the Virginia Central from Richmond to Hanover Junction without more is
simply nothing. That the whole of the enemy is concentrating on Richmond I
think cannot be certainly known to you or me. Saxton, at Harper's Ferry,
informs us that large forces, supposed to be Jackson's and Ewell's, forced
his advance from Charlestown to-day. General King telegraphs us from
Fredericksburg that contrabands give certain information that 15,000 left
Hanover Junction Monday morning to re-enforce Jackson. I am painfully
impressed with the importance of the struggle before you, and shall aid you
all I can consistently with my view of due regard to all points.


A. LINCOLN.

------------------------



Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

Also, on the same day, the following:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp Lincoln, June 25, 1862--6.15 p.m.
I have Just returned from the field, and find your dispatch in regard to
Jackson. Several contrabands just in give information confirming the
supposition that Jackson's advance is at or near Hanover Court-House, and
that Beauregard arrived, with strong re-enforcements, in Richmond yesterday.
I incline to think that Jackson will attack my right and rear. The rebel
force is stated at 200,000, including Jackson and Beauregard. I shall have
to contend against vastly superior odds if these reports be true; but this
army will do all in the power of men to hold their position and repulse any
attack.
I regret my great inferiority in numbers, but feel that I am in no way
responsible for it, as I have not failed to represent repeatedly the
necessity of re-enforcements; that this was the decisive point, and that
all the available means of the Government should be concentrated here. I
will do all that a general can do with the splendid army I have the honor
to command, and if it is destroyed by overwhelming numbers, can at least
die with it and share its fate. But if the result of the action, which will
probably occur to-morrow, or within a short time, is a disaster, the
responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it
belongs.

Since I commenced this I have received additional intelligence confirming
the supposition in regard to Jackson's movements and Beauregard's arrival.
I shall probably be attacked to-morrow, and now go to the other side of the
Chickahominy to arrange for the defense on that side. I feel that there is
no use in again asking for re-enforcements.(*)


GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General.

------------------------------



HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Berkeley, August 3, 1862---10 p.m.


Coggins' Point was occupied to-day, and timber felled so as to make it
quite defensible. I went over the ground myself, and found that Duane had,
as usual, selected an admirable position, which can be intrenched with a
small amount of labor, so as to make it a formidable tete-de-pont, covering
the landing of a large force.
I shall begin intrenching it by the labor of contrabands to-morrow. The
position covers the Cole's house, which is directly in front of Westover.
We have now a safe débouché on the south bank, and are secure against
midnight cannonading. A few thousand more men would place us in condition
at least to annoy and disconcert the enemy very much.
I sent Colonel Averell this morning with 300 cavalry to examine the country
on the south side of the James, and try to catch some cavalry at Sycamore
Church, which is on the main road from Petersburg to Suffolk, and some 5
miles from Cole's house. He found a cavalry force of 550 men, attacked them
at once, drove in their advance guards to their camp, where we had a sharp
skirmish, and drove them off in disorder. He burned their entire camp, with
their commissary and quartermaster's stores, and then returned and
recrossed the river. He took but 2 prisoners, had 1 man wounded by a ball
and 1 by a saber cut. Captain Mcintosh made a handsome charge. The troops
engaged were of the Fifth Regulars and the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry.
Colonel Averell conducted this affair, as he does everything he undertakes,
to my entire satisfaction.


GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding.


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Category: Civil War | Subcategory: Contrabands | Tags: Virginia , Washington
Related Topics / Keywords / Phrases: 1862, 1880, 1901, Army, Army of the Potomac, Cavalry, Edwin M. Stanton, Jack, Jackson, McIntosh, Daniel Newnan (CSA), Old, Pennsylvania, Petersburg (Virginia), Railroad, Richmond, United States War Department, Virginia, War Department, Ward,