Mr. Seward to Mr. Corwin.

No. 55.]

Sir: Your despatch of August 28 (No. 32) has been received. The retirement of Mr. Doblado from the office of secretary of foreign affairs is an important event. This government is impressed with a very favorable opinion of his ability and his integrity.

From your representations I think it must be assumed that the war in Mexico is only now about to begin. It is sincerely hoped here that it may end with as little of public injury as possible, and without a subversion of the free institutions of the republic.

At the moment when I am writing this paper the public mind is disturbed, and even somewhat alarmed. General McClellan succeeded in bringing his army away from the James river and placing it at and near Alexandria without battle and without loss. But General Pope, who, for the purpose of making a diversion in favor of General McClellan, had advanced with a smaller force to the Rapidan, was successfully flanked by a large insurrectionary force, and was thus obliged to retire hastily to the vicinity of Manassas. Becoming involved there in several engagements, in which he suffered severe loss, he at length withdrew to the line of the fortifications in front of this city. These reverses are supposed to have resulted from a want of co-operation and support on the part of some of the corps which had been just before hastily detached from the command of General McClellan and assigned to General Pope’s command. An inquiry has been instituted with a view to ascertain with whom the responsibility for the reverses rests.

Meantime the insurgents, profiting by their success, passed up through the country to the places where the Potomac is, at this season, nearly everywhere fordable, and threw a large force across the river, occupying Frederick and the [Page 773]line of the Monocacy. There they appealed to the people of Maryland to rise and join them, while they seemed to threaten equally Washington, Baltimore, and the southern part of Pennsylvania. A considerable force was, however, promptly organized and sent up under General McClellan to meet them. We hear to-day that, having evacuated Frederick, they have entered Hagerstown, thus apparently relinquishing any design of striking at either Baltimore or Washington on the northern side of the Potomac.

The same aggressive policy has been practiced in the west, and for several days the insurgents have been, or seemed to be, marching on Cincinnati and Louisville. Preparations have been made to repel them, and while I am writing the telegraph reports they retracing their steps and falling back from the Ohio.

I might give you more details of the military position, but it is likely to change any day. Our forces are being largely augmented, and our generals are confident of their ability to retrieve our losses and restore the former fortunes of the war. While the government indulges this expectation we must abide by results, and news of these will probably reach you sooner than this despatch.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

Thomas Corwin, Esq., &c., &c., &c., Mexico.