Today in History:

118 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 118 OPERATIONS IN MD., AND PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX

COLONEL: The following reports of the force and position of the enemy opposite my positions are from negro scouts, and from appearances are nearly accurate. There is a gradual strengthening of force near Edwards Ferry-two regiments (not Virginias) at Leesburg, about 1,200; 400 having been detached from the 1,600 previously reported as guard at Conrad's Ferry.

Four pieces of artillery are to-day reported opposite Edwards. One thousand additional troops were to arrive at Leesburg overnight.

Considering the ease with which their forces can be suddenly increased from the direction of Winchester, and the extended line of posts which I am obliged to occupy, I deem it only prudent that this command should be re-enforced, so that I may be enabled to complete my line of posts to above the Point of Rocks, and have a disposable force to move to any position which may be attacked, and be able to take advantage of any indiscretion on the part of the enemy. I deem it highly important to occupy the Point of Rocks, and guard the ferries and fords there, and a little above and below. Communication is constantly going on there, and the enemy can at any time cross and destroy the canal and railway track.

No communications has yet come to me from Major-General Patterson or any of his command. The only intercourse between us has been the meeting of our reconnoitering parties opposite Harper's Ferry. I do not dare to weaken my force by further detachments, and there seems to be great delay in occupying the space between us by General Patterson.

All letters which pass from Maryland into Virginia now go between the Point of Rocks and Harper's Ferry,a communication which could be entirely cut off by one regiment, which would at the same time give be entirely cut off, by one regiment, which would at the same time give great impetus to the Union feeling in Frederick County, Maryland, and Loudoun and Berkeley, Virginia.

The disposition shown by the enemy to burn and destroy private property makes me solicitous about that strong Union district. Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of property could be destroyed in a few hours there by a small force, the telegraph wires cut, and the canal made useless to us for months.

Very respectfully, I am, colonel, your most obedient servant,


Colonel Fourteenth Infantry, Commanding Expedition.

Lieutenant Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters of the Army.


GENERAL: I have this afternoon received your letter of yesterday's date,* and have sent orders to Colonel Cake to bring his battalion to this point as rapidly as the well-being of his troops will permit.

I yesterday reported an increase of the enemy's force opposite, my position, and am very desirous of showing them a strong front, and at the same time to occupy more ground on my right.

At present, with Harper's Ferry unoccupied, the disaffected in Maryland have free communication with Virginia across the Potomac above the Point of Rocks, and information and supplies go daily to the enemy.


*Not found.


Page 118 OPERATIONS IN MD., AND PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX