To William H. Seward

Hon. W. H. Seward         Washington City, D.C.
New-York—                     June 30 1862

We are yet without communication with Gen. McClellan; and this absence of news, is our point of anxiety. Up to the latest point to which we are posted, he effected everything in such exact accordance with his plan contingently announced to us before the battle began, that we feel justified to hope he has not failed since. He had a severe engagement in getting the part of his army on this side of the Chickahominy over to the other side, in which the enemy lost certainly as much as we did. We are not dissatisfied with this, only that the loss of enemies does not compensate for the loss of friends. The enemy did [can?] not come below White-House[,] certainly is not there now, and probably has abandoned the whole line. Dix’ pickets are at New-Kent C.H.



To Henry W. Halleck

Major Genl. Halleck Washington, D.C.
Corinth, Miss. June 30, 1862.

Would be very glad of twenty five thousand Infantry—no artillery, or cavalry—but please do not send a man if it endangers any place you deem important to hold, or if it forces you to give up, or weaken, or delay the expedition against Chattanooga. To take and hold the Rail-road at, or East of, Cleveland in East Tennessee, I think fully as important as the taking and holding of Richmond. A. LINCOLN

To John A. Dix

Major Gen. Dix        Washington City, D.C.
Fort-Monroe            June 30, 1862

Is it not probable the enemy have abandoned the line between White House and McClellan’s rear? He could have but little object to maintain it; and nothing to subsist upon. Would not Stoneman better move up and see about it. I think a Telegraphic communication can at once be opened to White-House from Williamsburg. The wires must be up still. A. LINCOLN

Call for Troops

New York, June 30. 1862.

To the Governors of the several States: The capture of New Orleans, Norfolk, and Corinth by the national forces has enabled the insurgents to concentrate a large force at and about Richmond, which place we must take with the least possible delay; in fact, there will soon be no formidable insurgent force except at Richmond. With so large an army there, the enemy can threaten us on the Potomac and elsewhere. Until we have re-established the national authority, all these places must be held, and we must keep a respectable force in front of Washington. But this, from the diminished strength of our Army by sickness and casualties, renders an addition to it necessary in order to close the struggle which has been prosecuted for the last three months with energy and success. Rather than hazard the misapprehension of our military condition and of groundless alarm by a call for troops by proclamation, I have deemed it best to address you in this form. To accomplish the object stated we require without delay 150,000 men, including those recently called for by the Secretary of War. Thus re-enforced, our gallant Army will be enabled to realize the hopes and expectations of the Government and the people.


To William H. Seward

Hon. W. H. Seward.         Washington City, D.C.
Astor-House—N.Y.          June 29, 1862 6 oclock PM

Not much more than when you left. “Fulton” of Baltimore American, is now with us. He left White House at 11. A.M. yesterday. He conversed fully with a Pay-Master who was with Porter’s force during the fight of Friday and fell back to near McClellan’s Quarters, just a little sooner that [sic] Porter did, seeing the whole of it; staid on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy over night and left for White House at 5. AM. Saturday. He says Porter retired in perfect order, under protection of guns, arranged for the purpose, under orders, and not from necessity, and, with all other of our forces, except what was left on purpose to go to White House, was safely in position over the Chickahominy before morning; and that there was heavy firing on the Richmond side began at 5 and ceased at 7 AM. Saturday On the whole, I think we had the better of it up to that point of time. What has happened since we still know not, as we have no communication with Gen. McClellan. A despatch from Col. Ingalls shows that he thinks McClellan is fighting with the enemy at Richmond to-day, and will be tomorrow. We have no means of knowing upon what Col Ingalls’ founds, his opinion. All confirmed about our saving all property. Not a single unwounded straggler came back to the White-House from the field; and the number of wounded reaching there up to 11. A.M. Saturday was not large.


To William H. Seward

Hon. W. H. Seward      Executive Mansion
My dear Sir                    June 28. 1862.

My view of the present condition of the War is about as follows:

The evacuation of Corinth, and our delay by the flood in the Chicahominy, has enabled the enemy to concentrate too much force in Richmond for McClellan to successfully attack. In fact there soon will be no substantial rebel force any where else. But if we send all the force from here to McClellan, the enemy will, before we can know of it, send a force from Richmond and take Washington. Or, if a large part of the Western Army be brought here to McClellan, they will let us have Richmond, and retake Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri &c. What should be done is to hold what we have in the West, open the Mississippi, and, take Chatanooga & East Tennessee, without more—a reasonable force should, in every event, be kept about Washington for it’s protection. Then let the country give us a hundred thousand new troops in the shortest possible time, which added to McClellan, directly or indirectly, will take Richmond, without endangering any other place which we now hold—and will substantially end the war. I expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my term expires, or Congress or the country forsakes me; and I would publicly appeal to the country for this new force, were it not that I fear a general panic and stampede would follow—so hard is it to have a thing understood as it really is. I think the new force should be all, or nearly all infantry, principally because such can be raised most cheaply and quickly. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN

To George B. McClellan

Washington City, D.C.
Major Gen. McClellan June 28— 1862

Save your Army at all events. Will send re-inforcements as fast as we can. Of course they can not reach you to-day, to-morrow, or next day. I have not said you were ungenerous for saying you needed re-inforcement. I thought you were ungenerous in assuming that I did not send them as fast as I could. I feel any misfortune to you and your Army quite as keenly as you feel it yourself. If you have had a drawn battle, or a repulse, it is the price we pay for the enemy not being in Washington. We protected Washington, and the enemy concentrated on you; had we stripped Washington, he would have been upon us before the troops sent could have got to you. Less than a week ago you notified us that re-inforcements were leaving Richmond to come in front of us. It is the nature of the case, and neither you or the government that is to blame. Please tell at once the present condition and aspect of things. A. LINCOLN

P.S. Gen. Pope thinks if you fall back, it would be much better towards York River, than towards the James. As Pope now has charge of the Capital, please confer with him through the telegraph. A. L.

McClellan’s dispatch to Stanton, June 28, 12:20 A.M., is as follows: “I now know the full history of the day. On this side of the river (the right bank) we repulsed several strong attacks. On the left bank our men did all that men could do, all that soldiers could accomplish, but they were overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers, even after I brought my last reserves into action. The loss on both sides is terrible. I believe it will prove to be the most desperate battle of the war.

“The sad remnants of my men behave as men. Those battalions who fought most bravely and suffered most are still in the best order. My regulars were superb, and I count upon what are left to turn another battle, in company with their gallant comrades of the volunteers. Had I 20,000 or even 10,000 fresh troops to use to-morrow I could take Richmond, but I have not a man in reserve, and shall be glad to cover my retreat and save the material and personnel of the army.

“If we have lost the day we have yet preserved our honor, and no one need blush for the Army of the Potomac. I have lost this battle because my force was too small.

“I again repeat that I am not responsible for this, and I say it with the earnestness of a general who feels in his heart the loss of every brave man who has been needlessly sacrificed to-day. I still hope to retrieve our fortunes, but to do this the Government must view the matter in the same earnest light that I do. You must send me very large re-enforcements, and send them at once. I shall draw back to this side of Chickahominy, and think I can withdraw all our material. Please understand that in this battle we have lost nothing but men, and those the best we have.

“In addition to what I have already said, I only wish to say to the President that I think he is wrong in regarding me as ungenerous when I said that my force was too weak. I merely intimated a truth which to-day has been too plainly proved. If, at this instant, I could dispose of 10,000 fresh men, I could gain a victory to-morrow. I know that a few thousand more men would have changed this battle from a defeat to a victory. As it is, the Government must not and cannot hold me responsible for the result.

“I feel too earnestly to-night. I have seen too many dead and wounded comrades to feel otherwise than that the Government has not sustained this army. If you do not do so now the game is lost.

“If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or to any other persons in Washington.

“You have done your best to sacrifice this army.”

McClellan’s last two sentences were deleted by Colonel Edward S. Sanford, military supervisor of the telegraph, from the copy delivered to Stanton, and the fact was not known until 1907 when David H. Bates told the story in Lincoln in the Telegraph Office. They were included, however, in McClellan’s official report as printed in the Official Records.