Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 1863 (Thursday): "Forces sufficient to make your victory certain."

Major General John Adams Dix

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, July 8, 1863-12. 30 p. m.
Harrisburg, Pa.:
     Your dispatch of this morning to the Secretary of War is before me. The forces you speak of will be of no imaginable service if they cannot go forward with a little more expedition. Lee is now passing the Potomac faster than the forces you mention are passing Carlisle. Forces now beyond Carlisle to be joined by regiments still at Harrisburg, and the united force again to join Pierce somewhere, and the whole to move down the Cumberland Valley, will, in my unprofessional opinion, be quite as likely to capture the "man in the moon" as any part of Lee's army.

      A. LINCOLN.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,
WHITE HOUSE, VA., July 8, 1863.
     SIR: Thank God for giving us Vicksburg! I am breaking up here to-day, but with great regret. I have planked over the railroad bridge, and can pass artillery and supply trains, controlling the whole country between the Pamunkey and Rappahannock. Richmond and the neighboring counties are in a ferment. The moment I leave, the troops there will be ready to operate elsewhere. If Lee is broken up, and I can have 20, 000 men, I can go into Richmond. I have not delayed a compliance with your order, but hoped that changed relations might keep me here.

    JOHN A. DIX,

July 8, 1863-3 p. m. (Received 3. 20 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    My information as to the crossing of the enemy does not agree with that just received in your dispatch. His whole force is in position between Funkstown and Williamsport. I have just received information that he has driven my cavalry force in front of Boonsborough. My army is and has been making forced marches, short of rations, and barefooted. One corps marched yesterday and last night over 30 miles. I take occasion to repeat that I will use my utmost efforts to push forward this army.

    GEO. G. MEADE,

WASHINGTON, D. C., July 8, 1863.
Major-General MEADE,
Army of the Potomac:
    Do not understand me as expressing any dissatisfaction; on the contrary, your army has done most nobly. I only wish to give you opinions formed from information received here. It is telegraphed from near Harper's Ferry that the enemy have been crossing for the last two days. It is also reported that they have a bridge across. If Lee's army is so divided by the river, the importance of attacking the part on this side is incalculable. Such an opportunity may never occur again. If, on the contrary, he has massed his whole force on the Antietam, time must be taken to also concentrate your forces. Your opportunities for information are better than mine. General Kelley was ordered some days ago to concentrate at Hancock and attack the enemy's right. General Brooks is also moving from Pittsburgh to re-enforce Kelley. All troops arriving from New York and Fort Monroe are sent directly to Harper's Ferry, unless your order differently. You will have forces sufficient to render your victory certain. My only fear now is that the enemy may escape by crossing the river.

    H. W. HALLECK,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 3, Part 1, Pages 612, 613,819 and Vol. 1, Page 85.

Lincoln was anxious to end the war.  It was not likely to happen the way he envisioned, but in fairness it was also true there was an opportunity to inflict further damage on Lee's army if a move was promptly executed.  Meanwhile, Dix had been ordered away from White House landing, but was in no hurry, believing he still had an opportunity to move on Richmond while Lee was away.

No comments:

Post a Comment