Washington Relieved that Banks’ Army Escaped Stonewall Jackson

May 26, 1862

Senator Orville H. Browning reports: “At President’s this morning — He had just received intelligence from [Nathaniel] Banks that he had crossed the Potomac at Williamsport with his entire army in good order.”  The president write General George B. McClellan: We have Genl Banks official report. He has saved his army & baggage & has made a safe retreat to the river & is probably safe at Williamsport. He reports the attacking force at fifteen thousand (15000).”

Worries continued at the pace at which the Peninsula campaign was proceeding in Virginia.  President Lincoln telegraphs General George B. McClellan: “Can you not cut the Acquia Creek Railroad also? What impression have you, as to intrenchments—works—for you to contend with in front of Richmond? Can you get near enough to throw shells into the city?”  The dilatory McClellan responds: “Have arranged to carry out your last orders.  We are quietly closing in upon the enemy preparatory to the last struggle. Situated as I am I feel forced to take every possible precaution against disaster & to secure my flanks against the probably superior force in front of me.  My arrangements for tomorrow are very important, & if successful will leave me free to strike on the return of the force detached.”

Meanwhile, McClellan wrote his wife: “My camp is about 4 ½ to 5 miles from Richmond.  I fancy secesh is becoming rather disturbed — he don’t know exactly what I am about.  I could not help laughing this afternoon when I received from the secy of War a copy of a dispatch from McDowell which proves them all to have been a precious lot of fools & that I have been right all the time.  Had the instructions I left for Banks & Wadsworth been complied with we should have been spared the same of Banks’ stampede.  It  laced him.  Some of the Presdt’s dispatches for the last two days have been amazing in the extreme.  I cannot do justice to them so I shall not attempt to describe them.  I feared last night that I would be ordered back for the defense of Washington!  You can imagine the course I had determined to pursue in such a contingency.

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Published in: on May 26, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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