October 27, 1862
President Lincoln writes General George B. McClellan: “Yours of yesterday received. Most certainly I intend no injustice to any; and if I have done any, I deeply regret it. To be told after more than five weeks total inaction of the Army, and during which period we had sent to that Army every fresh horse we possibly could, amounting in the whole to 7918 that the cavalry horses were too much fatigued to move, presented a very cheerless, almost hopeless, prospect for the future; and it may have forced something of impatience into my despatches. If not recruited, and rested then, when could they ever be? I suppose the river is rising, and I am glad to believe you are crossing.”
General McClellan writes: “Your excellency is aware of the very great reduction of numbers that has taken place in most of the old regiments of this command, and how necessary it is to fill up these skeletons before taking them again into action. I have the honor to request that the order to fill up the old regiments with drafted men may at once be issued.
Lincoln writes McClellan: “Your dispatch of 3 p.m. to-day, in regard to filling up old regiments with drafted men, is received, and the request therein shall be complied with as far as practicable. And now I ask a distinct answer to the question, Is it your purpose not to go into action again until the men now being drafted in the States are incorporated into the old regiments?” General McClellan writes to President Lincoln: “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of 5.10 pm today. Feeling deeply impressed with the importance of filling up the old regiments at the earliest practicable moment, I have upon several different occasions urged this measure upon the War Dept as well as upon Your Excellency, as the most speedy and effectual method of giving us effective troops for future operations. Some time ago an agent of the Governor of Pennsylvania informed me that an order from the War Dept was necessary to authorize the transfer of drafted men to the old regiments. On the 17 inst I requested Gen Halleck to have the necessary order given. I received no reply to this, and learned this afternoon that no such order had been issued. In the press of business I then called an aide and tell him that I had conversed with you upon this subject, I directed him to write for me a dispatch asking Your Excellent to have the necessary order given I regret to say that this officer after writing the dispatch, finding me still engaged, sent it to the telegraph office without first submitting it to me, under the impression that he had communicated my views. He however unfortunately added ‘before taking them into action again.’ This phrase was not authorized or intended by me. It has conveyed altogether an erroneous impression as to my plans and intentions.”
To Your Excellency’s question I answer distinctly that I have not and have not had any idea of postponing the advance until the old regiments are filled by drafted men.
I commenced crossing the Army into Virginia yesterday and shall push forward as rapidly as possible to endeavor to meet the enemy. Burnside’s Corps and part of Slocum’s have been crossing yesterday and today, and Reynolds’ Corps is ready to follow. Pleasonton with the cavalry is at Purcellville this evening. The crossing will be continued as rapidly as the means at hand will permit. Nothing but the physical difficulties of the operation shall delay it.
President Lincoln writes on behalf of a Harvard classmate of son Robert Todd Lincoln: “Mr. [Henry M.] Rogers wishes to be an Asst. Paymaster in the Navy. I know not whether there is a vacancy. The within shows that my son “Bob” has a high opinion of him.” The appointment was made in early November.