Joseph Hooker to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, April 17, 1863 (Advance of the army), Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/malhome.html.
Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
Adapted by John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.
9'o'clock A. M April 17th 1863.
I have the honor to acknowledge your communication of the night of the 15th inst. and in compliance with your request, transmit herewith a letter from Genl Stoneman dated the 16th -- inst, as it will fully inform you of the circumstances attending his march up the river and also of his present position-- The letter was this moment received--
His failure, to accomplish speedily the objects of his expedition, is a source of deep regret to me; but I can find nothing in his conduct of it, requiring my animadversion or censure-- We cannot control the elements--
From your letter I concluded that you had misapprehended the position of his advance the night of the second day out from here which was on the South Side of the Rappahannock and fifty miles from this camp-- His own despatch was dated Bealton, in the vicinity of his rear guard--
I have given directions for him to remain in his present position, holding himself in readiness, to march as soon, after, the roads and rivers will permit, as practicable, at the shortest notice -- and I still hope to turn his movement to some good account-- I do not regard him out of position, as, in case of an advance of so large an Army it would be necessary to throw the main portion of his force well on to my right flank-- It would take until doomsday to pass all this Army over one or two lines-- He has a week's supplies on hand and if it should become necessary to replenish, it can be done as readily at Rappahannock Station as at Falmouth-- I have sent to learn the condition of the Alexandria & Orange Rail Road--
No one, Mr President can be more anxious, than myself to relieve your cares and anxieties and you may be assured that I shall spare no labor, and suffer no opportunity to pass unimproved, for so doing--
We have no reason to suppose that the enemy have any knowledge of the design of Genl Stoneman's movement--
I have the honor to be
Your most obdt Svt