Today in History:

905 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


Richmond, Va., June 4, 1861.

Colonel J. A. EARLY, Lynchburg, Va.:

COLONEL: In reply to your communication of the 2nd instant, I am instructed to state that there are no cavalry sabers or pistols of any kind here, and your request cannot, therefore, be complied with.

Very respectfully, &c.,



SHEPHERDSTOWN, VA., June 4, 1861.

Brigadier-General JOHNSTON:

SIR: I have intelligence from the other side up to 3 p.m. yesterday. No Federal troops at Hagerstown, Boonsborough, or at any other point in the valley. At Chambersburg there are said to be some ten or twelve thousand men, though my important believed that their number was exaggerated.

A true friend from Maryland, living three miles from this post, came over last night with information that on Sunday a prominent Republican, of Washington County, Maryland, named Cook, accompanied by a Pennsylvania, in citizen's dress, were at Mercersville, about three and a half miles above this place, and at other points along the canal above that point, engaging boats and scows, to be used in passing the river. Cook said to one of the persons, from whom obtained a ferry-boat, that, in the course of the next week, there would be twenty or twenty-five thousand men thrown into Virginia upon this line; that they proposed to cross the river at three points, viz, Mercersville, Slackwater Dam No. 4, about six miles above this, and at Williamsport; and that the three columns would concentrate at a point on the railroad not far from Kerneysville. There is a great congregation of canal and ferry boats at Slackwater Dam No. 4, with which they could speedily bridge the river at that point. I have a large ferry-boat secured on our side in Dam No. 4, with which I can cross over twenty-five or thirty men at a time . The enemy 's boats have no other guard than their hands on board and some canal hands, perhaps one hundred and twenty men in all. I think, with my company, I could, if desirable, destroy all of the boats by crossing the river in the night and burning them.

I obtained two kegs (twenty-five pounds each) of powder from Maryland on yesterday. I have more of the article now than I have immediate use for. I shall, however, continue to procure all that I can. Please direct me where to send it. If desired, I can forward it to Winchester. There is a good macadamized road from here to that place. If not already known to you, allow me to call your attention to a ford across the river at (just below) the mouth of Antietam Creek, four and a quarter miles below this point. It is a good ford, and is now passable, and the approaches on either side very good. My force of cavalry is too small to enable me to guard it.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Third Virginia Infantry, Commandant of Post.