Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 20, 1862 (Friday): Burnside to Richmond?

General Ambrose Burnside

McClellan's, June 20, 1862-1 p.m. 

Commanding, New Berne:
    How many troops could you bring to White House and leave everything secure in your present position, and what time would it require to get the disposable troops to Fort Monroe? What is the earliest moment you can move with your present transportation on Goldsborough?
    Answer at once.


    We can put 7,000 infantry in Norfolk in five days, but no artillery, cavalry, or wagons. We can land at a point on the Chowan to attack Petersburg with 7,000 infantry, twelve pieces of artillery, 250 cavalry, and enough wagons for ammunition and four days' provisions in five days.
    We can move on Goldsborough at sixty hours' notice with 10,000 infantry, twenty pieces of artillery, five companies cavalry. From my present information I think we can take Goldsborough and hold it for the present, although 13 miles of the railroad between here and Kinston have been destroyed. At all events we can go to Kinston and repair the railroad and bridges between here and there. We have already built the bridges over the Trent and Batchelder's Creek, and will probably have to built one more bridge of 80 feet at Core Creek and one of 400 feet at Kinston, although the latter is not yet destroyed and we may save it.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 3, Page 237.

On June 18,  Lee had sent the following message to General Holmes at Petersburg:

GENERAL: By information received direct from Norfolk it is ascertained that at a "council of war," held at Fort Monroe a short time since, General McClellan expressed an inability to take Richmond without the co-operation of General Burnside, and that the force of the latter should advance by way of James River, landing and taking the batteries at Drewry's Bluff in rear, the gunboats being unable to reduce them.

It is interesting to think how Lee came by this information, which precedes the letter from McClellan to Burnside.  In Lee's letter he goes on to speculate Burnside is already on the way.  Ultimately, Burnside did not join in the Seven Days campaign. 


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