McClellan Order

SOLDIERS OF THE ARMY Head-Quarters, Army of the Potomac,

OF THE POTOMAC! Camp near New Bridge, Va., June 2d, 1862.

I have fulfilled at least a part of my promise to you: you are now face

to face with the rebels, who are at bay in front of their Capital. The final and decisive battle is at hand. Unless you belie your past history, the result cannot be for a moment doubtful. If the troops who labored so patiently, and fought so gallantly at Yorktown, and who so bravely won the hard fights at Williamsburg, West Point, Hanover Court House and Fair Oaks, now prove worthy of their antecedents, the victory is surely ours. The events of every day prove your superiority; wherever you have met the enemy you have beaten him; wherever you have used the bayonet he has given way in panic and disorder. I ask of you now one last crowning effort. The enemy has staked his all on the issue of the coming battle. Let us meet and crush him here in the very centre of the rebellion.

Soldiers! I will be with you in this battle, and share its dangers with you. Our confidence in each other is now founded upon the past. Let us strike the blow which is to restore peace and union to this distracted land. Upon your valor, discipline and mutual confidence that result depends.

Geo. B. McClellan,

Major General Commanding

To Edwin M. Stanton [TELEGRAM]

Head Quarters, Army of the Potomac Porters Hd Qtrs June 26 1862 7.40 pm

A very heavy engagement in progress just in front of me. McCall & (2) two Brigades of Morell are fighting gallantly against superior numbers so far with marked success. There is no longer any doubt as to the strength of attack on this (left) bank of Chickahominy. My men are behaving superbly. But you must not expect them to contest too long against great odds. The engagement is very serious & is just below Mechanicsville. 2 You may rely upon this Army doing all that men can do. I still keep communication with White House but it may be cut any moment & I cannot prevent it.

G B McClellan

Maj Genl

Hon E M Stanton

To Edwin M. Stanton TELEGRAM Hon E M Stanton

Sec of War Porter's June 26 8 pm 1862

Engagement still continues with great vigor. The enemy have not gained a foot & McCall is doing splendidly. He is showing that his Division is equal to the veterans of the Army of Potomac. Rebel forces very large but our position good & our men as brave as can be. The stragglers are all to the front. Not one to the rear. Morell 'S men just as McCall's. Dispatch as to reinforcements this moment read. I thank you for them. I am rejoiced that the troops in front of Washington are to be placed under one command. Keep at that & all will be well. I will answer for it that this Army will do all that the Country expects of it.

G B McClellan

Maj. Genl.

To Louis M. Goldsborough TELEGRAM]

Flag Officer Goldsborough Head Quarters, Army of the Potomac, Norfolk [Camp Lincoln] June [27] 1862 10.30 pm I desire you will send some light draft gull boats at once up the Chickahominy as far as possible, and also that you will forthwith instruct the gull boats on the James River to cover the left flank of this Army. I should be glad to have the gun boats proceed as far up the river as may be practicable, & hope they may get in as far as the vicinity of Newmarket.

We have met a severe repulse to day having been attacked by vastly superior numbers, and I am obliged to fall back between the Chickahomilly and the James River.

I look to you to give me all the support you can, in covering my flanks as well as in giving protection to my supplies afloat ill James River.

G. B. McClellan

Maj Gen

To Edwin M. Stanton [TELEGRAM]

Savage Station June 28 [1862] 12.20 am

I now know the full history of the day [June 27]. On this side of the river the right bank - we repulsed several very strong attacks. On the left batik 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 & suffered most are still ill the best order. My regulars were superb & I count upon what are left to turn another battle in company with their gallant comrades of the Volunteers. Had I (20,000) twenty thousand or even (10,000) ten thousand fresh troops to use tomorrow I could take Richmond, but I have not a man in reserve & shall be glad to cover my retreat & save the material & personnel of the Army.

If we have lost the day we have yet preserved our honor & 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 & 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 today. I still hope to retrieve our fortunes, but to do this the Govt. must view the matter in the same earnest light that I do you must send me very large reinforcements, & send them at once.

I shall draw back to this side of the Chickahominy & think I can withdraw all our material. Please understand that in this battle we have lost nothing but men & those the best we have.

In addition to what I have already said I only wish to say to the Presdt that I think he is wrong, in regarding me as ungenerous when I said that my force was too weak. I merely reiterated a truth which today has been too plainly proved. I should have gained this battle with (10,000) ten thousand fresh men. If at this instant I could dispose of (10,000) ten thousand fresh men I could gain the victory tomorrow.

I know that a few thousand men more would have changed this battle from a defeat to a victory as it is the Govt must not & cannot hold me responsible for the result.

I feel too earnestly tonight I have seen too many dead & wounded comrades to feel otherwise than that the Govt has not sustained this Army. IIf 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 any other persons iii Washington you have done your best to sacrifice this Army.

G B McClellan

To Lorenzo Thomas [TELEGRAM I] Turkey Island July 1st [1862] 2.40L. Thomas, Adjt Genl Tuesday morning

Another desperate combat today [June 30]. Our reinforcements repulsed the enemy. I was sending orders to renew the combat tomorrow [July 1], fearing the consequences of further retreat in the exhausted condition of the reinforcements, & being as willing to stake the last chance of battle in that position as any other under the circumstances, when I learned that the right had fallen back, after dark, & that the center was following. I have taken steps to adopt a new line, the left resting on Turkey Island, & thence along a ridge parallel to James River as far as I have the force to hold it. Rodgers will do all that can be done to cover my flanks. I will probably be obliged to change the line in a few days, when I have rested the men, for one lower down & extending from the Chickahominy to the James River. If it is the intention of the Government to reinforce me largely, it should be done promptly, and ill mass. I need fifty thousand 50,000 more men, and with them I will retrieve our fortunes. More would be well, but that number sent at once, will, I think enable me to assume the offensive. I cannot too strongly urge the necessity of prompt action in this matter. Even a few thousand fresh men within the next twenty four or forty eight hours, will do much towards relieving & encouraging this wearied army, which has been engaged in constant combat for the last five or six days. I must apologize for the incoherency of this letter. I am exhausted by want of sleep and constant anxiety for many days.

Very Respety Yours,

Geo B McClellan

Maj Genl

To Abraham Lincoln [Telegram]

Berkeley, Harrison's Bar Hon A Lincoln President US July 2nd [1862] 5.30 PM

I have succeeded in getting this Army to this place on the banks of the James River. I have lost but one gun which had to be abandoned last night because it broke down. An hour and a half ago the rear of the wagon train was within a mile of Camp and only one wagon abandoned. As usual we had a severe battle yesterday and beat the Enemy badly, the men fighting even better than before. We fell back to this position during the night and morning. Officers and men thoroughly worn out by fighting every day and working every night for a week. They are in good spirits and after a little rest will fight better than ever. If not attacked during this day I will have the men ready to repulse the Enemy tomorrow. General Ferry is here. Our losses have been very heavy for we have fought every day since last Tuesday. I have not yielded an inch of ground unnecessarily but have retired to prevent the superior force of the Enemy from cutting me off and to take a different base of operations.

I thank you for the reinforcements. Every thousand men you send at once will help me much.

G B McClellan

Maj Genl