Today in History:

174 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 174 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

Harper's Ferry, Va., July 24, 1861-3 p. m.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND:

While awaiting the arrival of General Banks, who is addressed as commanding here, I have carefully considered the telegram of 11.30 p. m. of 23rd from the General-in-Chief to him, and the course to be followed. Winchester is now occupied by about three thousand men. It is true they are militia; more in number than the effective man at my disposal. Three-years' men only reliable. A proper force to take it now would strip the supplies here and at Sandy Hook of reliable protection. I consider the occupation of Harper's Ferry with the small force here as hazardous, and as untenable against a formidable force with less than 20,000 men. The number now here is too small to hold Harper's Ferry, and too large to retreat with if forced to evacuate. No re-enforcements heard of, and regiments going off at the rate of two to four per day.


Major-General, Commanding.

HAGERSTOWN, July 25, 1861.

Colonel F. J. PORTER,

Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Department of Pennsylvania:

SIR: I am possessed of reliable information that a messenger left this place for Baltimore with a dispatch from the Confederate Army to the rebels in Baltimore, to the effect that their generals were determined to make a dash at some point, and that Beauregard was for attacking Washington and General Lee was for Baltimore, gong through this State at this point, and this plan was adopted. This messenger stated that there would be hell to pay in this place in less than six days, and that Baltimore would be in their hands without the slightest doubt.

This messenger left here on the night of the 23rd, and stated that his dispatch was from Governor Pratt, of this place.

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


Colonel Commanding Fourth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers.


Numbers 33.
Harper's Ferry, Va., July 25, 1861.

The term for which the troops from Pennsylvania were called into sercie having expired, and nearly all of them having returned to their homes, the commanding general, by direction of the War Department, relinquishes the command of this department on the expiration of his term of service.

The commanding general regrets to leave you. It is with satisfaction that he recalls to you that you have steadily advanced in the face of the enemy, greatly superior in numbers and artillery, and offered battle, which they refused until protected by their strong entrenchments at Winchester.

You have done all that was possible and more than could have been expected or demanded, and if advantage has not been taken of your sacrifices, and if the fruits of your campaign have been lost, the fault cannot be imputed to you.

To the members of the department staff he tenders his thanks for their efficient aid and devotion to duty.


Major-General, Commanding.

Page 174 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.