To George B. McClellan

Major General McClellan                   Executive Mansion,
My dear Sir—                                       Washington, July 13 1862.

I am told that over 160-000 men have gone into your Army on the Peninsula. When I was with you the other day we made out 86,500 remaining, leaving 73,500 to be accounted for. I believe 23,500, will cover all the killed, wounded and missing in all your battles and skirmishes, leaving 50-000 who have left otherwise. Not more than 5000 of these have died, leaving 45,000 of your Army still alive, and not with it. I believe half, or two thirds of them are fit for duty to-day. Have you any more perfect knowledge of this than I have? If I am right, and you had these men with you, you could go into Richmond in the next three days. How can they be got to you? and how can they be prevented from getting away in such numbers for the future? A. LINCOLN

McClellan’s telegram received at 8 P.M. on July 15, reads in part as follows: “. . . The difference between the effective force of troops and that expressed in returns is considerable in every Army. All commanders find the actual strength less than the strength represented on paper. I have not my own returns for the tri-monthly period since arriving at Fort Monroe at hand at this moment but even on paper I will not . . . be found to have received one hundred and sixty thousand officers and men present although present and absent my returns will be accountable for that number. . . . I find from official reports that I have present for duty—Officers three thousand two hundred fifteen. Enlisted men Eighty Eight thousand four hundred fifty. In all present for duty Eighty Eight thousand six hundred sixty-five. Absent by authority thirty four thousand four hundred seventy two—without authority three thousand seven hundred seventy eight. Present and absent, One hundred forty four thousand four hundred and seven. The number . . . present sick is sixteen thousand six hundred nineteen. . . . Thus the number . . . really absent is thirty eight thousand two hundred fifty. Unquestionably of the number present some one absent, say forty thousand will cover the absentees. I quite agree with you that more than one half these men are probably fit for duty to-day. I have frequently called the attention lately of the War Dept to the evil of absenteeism. . . . It is to be remembered that many of those absent by authority are those who have got off either sick or wounded . . . and . . . are still reported absent by authority. If I could receive back the absentees and could get my sick men up I would need but small reinforcements to enable me to take Richmond. . . . I can now control people getting away better for the natural opportunities are better. Leakages by desertion occur in every Army and will occur here of course, but I do not at all . . . anticipate anything like a recurrence of what has taken place.”

Memorandum of Interviews Between Lincoln and Officers of the Army of the Potomac

July 8-9, 1862

Gen. McClellan July 8. 1862

What amount of force have you now?

About 80-000—cant vary much—certainly 75-000.

What is likely to be your condition as to health in this camp?

Better than in any encampment since landing at Fort Monroe.

Where is the enemy now?

From four to 5. miles from us on all the roads—I think nearly the whole Army. Both Hills—Longstreet, Jackson, Magruder, Huger,

If you desired, could you remove the army safely?

It would be a delicate & very difficult matter.

Cavalry about 5000—

Gen. Summer—July 9. 1862

What is the whole amount of your corps with you now?

About 16,000

What is the agregate of your killed, wounded, and missing from the attack on the 26th. ult till now?

1175

In your present encampment what is the present and prospective condition as to health?

As good as any part of Eastern Va.

Where, & in what condition do you believe the enemy to now be

I think they have retired from our front, were much damaged, especially in their best troops in the late actions from superiority of our arms

If it were desired to get the Army away, could it be safely effected?

I think we could, but I think we give up the cause if we do it.

Is the Army secure in it’s present position?

Perfectly so, in my judgment.

Gen. Heintzelman—July 9, 1862

What is the whole amount of your corps now with you?

15-000 for duty

What is the agregate of your killed, wounded, and missing from the attack on the 26. ult. till now?

Not large. 745.

In your present encampment, what is the present and prospective condition as to health?

Excellent for health & present health improving.

Where, and in what condition do you believe the enemy to now be?

Dont think they are in force in our vicinity.

If it were desired to get the Army away from here could it be safely effected?

Perhaps we could, but think it would be ruinous to the country

Is the Army secure in its present position?

I think it is safe.

Gen. Keyes—July 9. 1862

What is the whole amount of your corps with you now?

About 12-500

What is the agregate of your killed, wounded, and missing, from the attack on the 26th. till now?

Less than 500.

In your present encampment what is the present & prospective condition as to health?

A little improved, but think camp is getting worse

Where, and in what condition, do you believe the enemy to now be?

Think he has withdrawn & think preparing to go to Washington.

If it were desired to get the Army away, could it be safely effected?

I think it could if done quickly.

Is the Army, in its present position, secure?

With help of Gen B. can hold position.

Gen Porter

What is the amount of your corps now with you?

About 23,000

Fully 20-000 fit, for duty.

What is the aggregate of your killed wounded and missing from the attack on the 26th ult. until now?

Over 5000.

In your present encampment, what is the present and prospective condition as to health?

Very good.

Where and in what condition do you believe the enemy now to be?

Believe he is mainly near Richmond. He feels he dare not attack us here.

If it were desired to get the army away from here, could it be safely effected?

Impossible—move the Army & ruin the country.

Is the Army secure in its present position?

Perfectly so. Not only but, we are ready to begin moving forward.

General Franklin.

What is the whole amount of your corps now with you?

About 15,000.

What is the aggregate of your killed, wounded, and missing, from the attack on the 26th ultimo till now?

Don’t think whole will exceed 3,000 men.

In your present encampment what is the present and prospective condition as to health?

Not good.

Where and in what condition do you believe the enemy now to be?

I learn he has withdrawn from our front, and think that is probable.

If it were desired to get the army away from here, could it be safely effected?

I think we could, and think we better—think Rappahannock true line.

Is the army secure in its present position?

Unless we can be closer, it is.

General Sumner 1175

General Heintzelman 745.

General Keyes 500.

Fitz J Porter 5000

Franklin 3000

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10420

To George B. McClellan

United States Military Telegraph,
Head-Quarters, Department Washington
Genl McClellan July 6th 1862.

I send you the following message received by the secretary of war last evening. Fredericksburg July 5th 62. The Richmond Examiner of yesterday the 4th fourth instant has just been received in Fredericksburg. I am promised the paper Tomorrow morning. A reliable man who had the paper assures me that it censures the confederate Generals severely for failing to capture Genl. McClellan and his army and pronounces McClellans whole movement a masterpiece of strategy. Signed Rufus King Brig Genl.

(Signed) A. LINCOLN

To George B. McClellan

Washington City, D.C.
Major Genl. McClellan July 5, 1862.

A thousand thanks for the relief your two despatches of 12 & 1 P.M. yesterday—give me. Be assured the heroism and skill of yourself, officers, and men, are, and forever will be appreciated. If you can hold your present position, we shall “hive” the enemy yet. A. LINCOLN

To George B. McClellan

War Department                    Washington City, D.C.
Major Gen. McClellan:          July 4. 1862

I understand your position as stated in your letter, and by Gen. Marcy. To reinforce you so as to enable you to resume the offensive within a month, or even six weeks, is impossible. In addition to that arrived, and now arriving from the Potomac, (about ten thousand, I suppose) and about ten thousand I hope you will have from Burnside very soon, and about five thousand from Hunter a little later, I do not see how I can send you another man within a month. Under these circumstances the defensive, for the present, must be your only care. Save the Army—first, where you are, if you can; and secondly, by removal, if you must. You, on the ground, must be the judge as to which you will attempt, and of the means for effecting it. I but give it as opinion, that with the aid of the Gun-Boats, and the re-inforcements mentioned above, you can hold your present position, provided, and so long as, you can keep the James River open below you. If you are not tolerably confident you can keep the James River open, you had better remove as soon as possible. I do not remember that you have expressed any apprehension as to the danger of having your communication cut on the river below you; yet I do not suppose it can have escaped your attention. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN

P.S. If, at any time, you feel able to take the offensive, you are not restrained from doing so. A. L.

To George B. McClellan

Washington City, D.C.
Major Genl. McClellan July 3, 1862.

Yours of 5.30. yesterday is just received. I am satisfied that yourself, officers and men have done the best you could. All accounts say better fighting was never done. Ten thousand thanks for it.

On the 28th. we sent Gen. Burnside an order to send all the force he could spare, to you. We then learned that you had requested him to go to Goldsborough, upon which, we said to him our order was intended for your benefit, and we did not wish to be in conflict with your views. We hope you will have help from him soon. To day we have ordered Gen. Hunter to send you all he can spare. At last advices Halleck thinks he can not send reinforcements, without endangering all he has gained.

A. LINCOLN

To George B. McClellan

Washington, D.C.,
Major Gen. McClellan July 2 1862.

Your despatch of Tuesday morning induces me to hope your Army is having some rest. In this hope, allow me to reason with you a moment. When you ask for fifty thousand men to be promptly sent you, you surely labor under some gross mistake of fact. Recently you sent papers showing your disposal of forces, made last spring, for the defence of Washington, and advising a return to that plan. I find it included in, and about Washington seventyfive thousand men. Now please be assured, I have not men enough to fill that very plan by fifteen thousand. All of Fremont in the valley, all of Banks, all of McDowell, not with you, and all in Washington, taken together do not exceed, if they reach sixty thousand. With Wool and Dix added to those mentioned, I have not, outside of your Army, seventyfive thousand men East of the mountains. Thus, the idea of sending you fifty thousand, or any other considerable force promptly, is simply absurd. If in your frequent mention of responsibility, you have the impression that I blame you for not doing more than you can, please be relieved of such impression. I only beg that in like manner, you will not ask impossibilities of me. If you think you are not strong enough to take Richmond just now, I do not ask you to try just now. Save the Army, material and personal; and I will strengthen it for the offensive again, as fast as I can. The Governors of eighteen states offer me a new levy of three hundred thousand, which I accept.

A. LINCOLN