Washington, November 17, 1861
To: General Kurtz
From: General Wool
I don't think Beauregard will be content to hold in place or keep retreating. He is massing troops under Jackson in Culpeper. Bee is still in Loudon, although some scouting reports initially placed him at Manassas. If he joins either Bonham or Jackson's corps, and Jackson attacks Alexandria, Bory will have ~ 50,000 troops available there. We currently have 23,000 there for defense, and are planning to send 3,000 of the cavalry elsewhere. Given the leadership difference, those aren't great odds, even with fortifications. Butler's corps clearly must return to Washington (preferably by rail), which leaves McClellan as the only possible source of substantial reinforcements for McDowell.
1 & 3. Noted. I don't understand what you mean by "active and in a position to take Manassas". Please note my concern (T-223) for Hooker's Division and the brigades at Tappahannock. If Jackson chooses, given the current "Indian Summer" conditions in eastern VA, he could march to either Williamsburg or Tappahannock in under ten days time from his current position.
2. Also noted. Those are, however, three of the best brigades in the rebel army at Manassas.
a. 2nd Maryland - Approved. Excellent choice of objective. Suggest they continue moving towards Suffolk after reaching their objective.
b. 1st MD "Union", 1st NY, 7th PA - can you be more specific? What are their planned routes and modes of transport towards the objectives? (I'm thinking if they travel separately, they can all reach Norfolk by steamboat by the end of the month, which should make a good starting point for the raids you have planned. I'm also thinking one of those regiments could head south to Fredericksburg, and then turn southwest for a rail raid at Lynchburg, moving towards Franklin after that; while another proceeds south to Buckingham, then turns northwest for a railroad raid at Charlottesville, falling back towards Palmyra upon completion. There is the possibility that a regiment could raid Louisa, detouring to Westmoreland along the way, and continuing to Buckingham. They could all continue from those points to their final objectives. Those are riskier options, requiring evasion of expected enemy forces in Spotsylvania, Louisa, and Albemarle before they reach the preliminary targets. If you have better plans, please let me know.)
c. 5th PA and 1st MD "Potomac" - the entire 44th Detachment is in need of relief. If the 1st MD temporarily holds the 44th's current position until more suitable (volunteer) troops can arrive, then the 1st PA Brigade can accompany the artillery to occupy Harper's Ferry, while the Philadelphia Brigade won't have to forced march there and could take another mission. That would however, also mean a reduced presence at Winchester (5th PA Cav + NVA/5th).
d. 6th PA - I wouldn't choose Lexington right now due to the weather conditions. If the 6th PA rails toward and occupies Pendleton county, the B & O railroad should be reopened from Grafton through to Bath, giving FJ Porter the option to quickly move east if that becomes necessary.
e. 11th WV - Approved. Please continue the retreat into Prestonburg.
f. US Cavalry - Approved. I can't find a better option. I will ask Gideon to move additional transports along their route, in the hopes of keeping them supplied. We need to note what happened to them due to CSN interference, for future reference.
g. 3rd Maryland - Approved. If this regiment proceeds straight west to Palmyra (Amherst), and then southeast to City Point, they will have a reduced time on target at their objective of Henrico.
6. Approved. Refer to item 4c.
7. Refer to item 4c.
8. This is at your discretion. See my concerns above. If McClellan gets into a fight in Loudon, while Jackson takes Alexandria, we would have insufficient reserves left for the defense of Washington. The War Board consensus (with some dissent) is that McC's corps head for Alexandria temporarily, to take up a newly fortified position directly supporting McDowell (by rendezvous with a small detachment from McD's command). You are probably correct in not worrying about an attack into Montgomery County. Use of volunteers to hold that position is approved. I respectfully suggest using the Baltimore Btty, along with a brigade from the 50th detachment for that purpose. My thinking is that Montgomery may become more important in the near future, and the 1st MA Brigade is currently more suitable for front line operations than any of the brigades in the 50th detachment.
9. Approved. I would like to mention the possiblities that Keyes brigade could make a forced march attack on Garys, at your discretion; also that the 3rd PA Cav could amphibiously assault Columbia, at your discretion. If the forced march were unsuccessful, Keyes Brigade would be in a position to tear up rail, and either attack Garys or some other point nearby. If you do order the amphibious option, I suggest that you order them to continue beyond the objective, and only take possession of the town if there is no opposition. These are by no means orders, barely even suggestions. If you choose to wait for more concrete opportunies for those objectives, I will not feel disappointed.
12. Noted. Refer to item 4d. In the meantime, please move some fresh troops into the entrenchments around Grafton, and the road-weary troops into the fortifications in town. Please give these orders one regiment at a time, so that we don't lose good positions in the shuffle.
13. This area and regiment are part of General Cai's command due to the adjustment of theater borders (T-177). Please continue to review forces, terrain, missions, etc. as far west as the OH/IN border and points south along that line, in case another adjustment becomes necessary.
14. 1st NH & 1st MA Regiments are amphibious troops, as are all forces in New England (T-81). Please do not order those regiments into a single brigade, as they (along with the 1st ME & 7th OH) are intended for garrison duties in Texas, hopefully for the duration of hostilities. They will be departing Boston for their staging areas immediately.
15. This is at your discretion. McC's Excelsior Brigade already contains a sharpshooters regiment, as does the Philadelphia Brigade in the same area. There is no such regiment at Grafton.
16. The 1st RI (Franklin, PA) is in need of relief. Could a brigade be split off from the 50th Detachment for this purpose? Once they have been relieved, the 1st RI will be available for front line duties. They would be an ideal regiment to brigade with sailors. Can an additional brigade be split off from the 50th for the relief of the garrison forces in Chambers? The board will try to provide addition single regiments of volunteers for this purpose by the next relief cycle.
17. The governor of Pennsylvania is making inquiries why entrenchments in Harrisburg were abandoned last month. Can the 1st PA militia regiment (that specific regiment) be ordered back inside the city while the PA State Guard (that specific regiment) holds the current position?
18. Btty C, WV Light Art. is probably not needed at Elizabeth any longer, and you can use it elsewhere if you wish.
19. No matter which destination you order McClellan to, I worry that any 50th detachment reinforcements could slow his arrival. I would hate to see him arrive even one day late with his troops worn down from an extra day of marching, in the event of a battle. Could they be ordered to join with McDowell or their orders be revised somehow so that they don't intercept McC on the march?
20. Please order all troops mustering at Philadelphia into separate commands. Scott has been authorized to deliver similar orders at Boston.
21. At your discretion, the NJ Volunteer Brigade may halt for rest and resupply at Warsaw (Westmoreland). Port Tobacco is now adequately protected by naval forces in the Potomac River. The NJ Volunteers are not in any shape to take a role in possible developments closer to Washington. This also means that the 3rd MD Mil at Port Tobacco are available for a more active role.
22. At your request, I could ask for additional naval forces to move into the Potomac. I don't think they are immediately necessary, but I don't want to have to rush them there in an emergency situation, either.
I know that I stated I wouldn't give specific advice about cavalry routes, but I think this once it may help you to see how I plan cavalry raids.
Thank for your excellent analysis and hard work in planning all this,
[color="DimGray"] You deserve to be spanked[/color]