|2.||The proclamation had appeared in the May 16 and 17 editions of the Evening Star, a Washington newspaper.|
Letterpress copy of autograph letter. Chase Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Treas Dept. May 24th. 1862.1
My dear [ illeg.]
I must take a few moments time to reply to your letter.
It is very certain that our forces are too much scattered. It is useless to hold the coast unless we can break the centre at Richmond.
My conviction however is clear that McClellan has a force which, properly handled, is vastly superior to any thing that can be brought against him. And I am strongly inclined to the opinion that with more under his immediate command he would practically no stronger.
What is needed from him is strong and effective cooperation. Hence I have urged the sending of an adequate force up James River to cooperate with the Gunboats. I feel certain that this done immediately after the fall of Norfolk and the blowing up of the Merrimac wd. have resulted in the capture of Richmond. Another cooperative movement was & is intended by McDowell from Fredericksburg, which should in fact have been the base of operations against Richmond instead of Fortress Monroe. To this end a large & fine army was gathered under McDowell at F--and was to have moved in force & rapidly this morning--all its preparations having been completed on Saturday.
But in consequence of failure to cooperate because of diverse works given them to do between Banks & Fremont, Ewells force2was able to get up to Front Royal Friday & drive or capture the men stationed there & fall on Banks & drive him first to Winchester & then across the Potomac on Sunday. This movement, sustained by a force under Jackson & another under Johnson3endangered Harpers Ferry & even Washington, & menaced Maryland. To repel it & if possible capture or destroy the invaders became a prime necessity. To this end two of McDowells divisions were ordered to the support of Banks & Fremont.4
McDowell however with his force reduced in half is advancing towards Richmond: and will I hope be able to give substantial aid to McClellan
The whole state of things is very far from satisfactory to me. But I am unable to do much outside of my own department. What I can do, I do. When I think my counsel useful or even likely to be considered I give it. I am so strongly impressed by the sense of your letter, that I shall urge its general views again on the President and Mr. Stanton.
I have a trouble though which lies back of these movements. I believe in Gods Providence, and I believe that all oppression & the chief