Today in History:

167 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


I send you a sketch,* prepared by Captain Simpson, of the works said to have been erected in the vicinity of Winchester.

I shall (preparations already commenced) hold and occupy Harper's Ferry with the three years' troops. If the General-in-Chief desires to retain that place (and I advise in never to be evacuated), I desire to be informed at once by telegraph.

I have to report that the term of service of a very large portion of this force will expire in a few days. From an undercurrent expression of feeling I am confident that many will be inclined to lay down their arms the day the term expires. With such a feeling existing any active operations towards Winchester cannot be thought of until they are replaced by three years' men. Those whose terms will expire this week I shall arrange to send off by Harper's Ferry-those for Philadelphia via Baltimore and those for Harrisburg via Hagerstown.

If Harper's Ferry is to be held, after securing that I shall, if the General-in-Chief desires, advance with the remainder of the troops via Leesburg, provided the force under Johnston does not remain at Winchester, after the success which I anticipate from General McDowell. I wish to be advised if these propositions meet with the approval of the General-in-Chief.

The Wisconsin regiments are without arms and accouterments, which I have directed the commander of Frankford Arsenal to provide. Telegrams will reach me via Hagerstown and also via Point of Rocks.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington City.

CHARLESTOWN, VA., July 17, 1861.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, U. S. Army:

The term of service of the Pennsylvania troops (eighteen regiments) expires within seven days, commencing to-morrow. Can rely on none of them renewing service. I must be at once provided with efficient three years' men or withdraw to Harper's Ferry. Shall I reoccupy permanently Harper's Ferry or withdraw entirely? I wrote yesterday on this subject, and now wish to be informed of the intention of the General-in-Chief. My march to-day was without opposition or incident of importance. The country has been drained of men. This place has been a depot of supplies for force at Winchester, and the presence of the army is not welcomed.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

(Repeated July 18.)

JULY 17, 1861-9.30 p. m.

Major-General PATTERSON, U. S. Forces, Harper's Ferry:

I have nothing official from you since Sunday [14th], but am glad to learn, through Philadelphia papers, that you have advanced. Do not let the enemy amuse and delay you with a small force in front whilst


*Not found.