Correspondence of the New York World.


Whatever may be the result of McClellan's splendid movements before Richmond, we know that it cannot exceed certain limits of misfortune or success. Our army cannot be whipped or cut off; cannot have so great injury inflicted upon it as it is able to and will inflict upon its enemy. But, on the other hand, it cannot surround and capture the rebel forces any more than one man can surround a house. The utmost it can hope to do is to take Richmond; to pierce the enemy's centre; to divide and shatter his columns; to heap his dead in thousands upon the terrible field.

All intelligent and well-informed critics at Washington regard the operations of Thursday, Friday and Saturday as directly pointing to the latter result, and as constituting a strategic success of a magnificent and truly Napoleonic character.

When the army pushed on from Williamsburg the enemy retreated across the great Chickahominy swamp, tempting us to follow by the same route to our annihilation. A glance at the map will show you that Gen. McClellan has taken his whole army via New Kent, White House and upper Chickahominy, around the great swamp, and has now edged his way in between that impassable defense and the weak and undefended southeast side of Richmond.

But see — O see, and at last let the public understand — wherein consists that almost incredible mistake which now costs us hecatombs of our braves, which alone limits McClellan's success, as aforesaid, and which would ruin the union cause had not God given our army a noble leader. Every point made in my last letter "On the Critical Aspect of the Campaign," is abundantly confirmed:

1. While the rebels threw 50,000 men across the Chickahominy, they were yet in as countless force as ever in front of our left and centre.

2. The "decisive battle" is even now raging, and where are the legions with which the government should have enabled McClellan to make it truly decisive?

3. With a force at least one-third less than the enemy's, McClellan is splendidly piercing their centre, and his artillery is mowing them down like ripe harvest; but how is he to surround, capture, squash "the army which is the rebellion," how is he to prevent a prolongation of the war?

4. Was there ever a feint more successful than that of Jackson? So late as Thursday, Banks, Shields and Sigel were entrenching themselves on the lower Shenandoah.

Oh, fools and blind! Oh, brave, bleeding soldiery and calm young chieftain, hearing those fated strongholds — I see you weakened by official obstinacy, unbelieved through envy and malice, but resolutely closing in your strength, and, since you could not have more lives to reinforce you, giving joyfully more deaths to make your onset sure!