The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 6 by Abraham Lincoln
Memorandum of an Interview Between the President and General McClellan and Other Officers During a Visit to the Army of the Potomac at Harrison's Landing, Virginia.
July 9, 1862.
THE PRESIDENT: What amount of force have you now?
GENERAL McCLELLAN: About 80,000, can't vary much, certainly 75,000.
THE PRESIDENT:[to the corps commanders]
GENERAL SUMNER: About 15,000.
THE PRESIDENT: What is likely to be your condition as to health in this camp?
GENERAL McCLELLAN: Better than in any encampment since landing at Fortress Monroe.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN:[to the corps commanders] In your present encampment what is the present and prospective condition as to health?
GENERAL SUMNER: As good as any part of Western Virginia.
GENERAL HEINTZELMAN: Excellent for health, and present health improving.
GENERAL KEYES: A little improved, but think camp is getting worse.
GENERAL PORTER: Very good.
GENERAL FRANKLIN: Not good.
THE PRESIDENT: Where is the enemy now?
GENERAL McCLELLAN: From four to five miles from us on all the roads --I think nearly the whole army--both Hills, Longstreet, Jackson, Magruder, Huger.
THE PRESIDENT: [to the corps commanders] Where and in what condition do you believe the enemy to be now?
GENERAL SUMNER: I think they have retired from our front; were very much damaged, especially in their best troops, in the late actions, from superiority of arms.
GENERAL HEINTZELMAN: Don't think they are in force in our vicinity.
GENERAL KEYES: Think he has withdrawn, and think preparing to go to WASHINGTON.
GENERAL PORTER: Believe he is mainly near Richmond. He feels he dare not attack us here.
GENERAL FRANKLIN: I learn he has withdrawn from our front and think that is probable.
THE PRESIDENT: [to the corps commanders] What is the aggregate of your killed, wounded, and missing from the attack on the 26th ultimo till now?
GENERAL SUMNER: 1175.
THE PRESIDENT: If you desired could you remove the army safely?
GENERAL McCLELLAN: It would be a delicate and very difficult matter.
THE PRESIDENT: [to the corps commanders] If it were desired to get the army away, could it be safely effected?
GENERAL SUMNER: I think we could, but I think we give up the cause if we do.
GENERAL HEINTZELMAN: Perhaps we could, but I think it would be ruinous to the country.
GENERAL KEYES: I think it could if done quickly.
GENERAL PORTER: Impossible--move the army and ruin the country.
GENERAL FRANKLIN: I think we could, and that we had better--think Rappahannock the true line.
THE PRESIDENT: [to the corps commanders] Is the army secure in its present position?
GENERAL SUMNER: Perfectly so, in my judgment.