April 30, 1862: Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, in command of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (or the army that will soon be re-named such), which has mostly relocated down to the James Peninsula, writes to Gen. Lee this surprisingly frank and pessimistic (and yet realistic) assessment of his ability to stop McClellan’s advance toward Richmond:
HEADQUARTERS, Lee's House, April 30, 1862.
General R. E. LEE:
GENERAL: We are engaged in a species of warfare at which we can never win.
It is plain that General McClellan will adhere to the system adopted by him last summer, and depend for success upon artillery and engineering. We can compete with him in neither.
We must therefore change our course, take the offensive, collect all the troops we have in the East and cross the Potomac with them, while Beauregard, with all we have in the West, invades Ohio.
Our troops have always wished for the offensive, and so does the country. Please submit this suggestion to the President. We can have no success while McClellan is allowed, as he is by our defensive, to choose his mode of warfare.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,