armed with the new musket - fifty-tow men without accouterments and fifteen without arms, and very little ammunition; Captain Simpson's company of rifles, numbering in all fifty-three, and well armed with the mince rifle, and about nine rounds of ammunition complete; Captain Herbert's company of rifles, numbering eighty-five, rank and file, armed with the mince rifle, and with an average of five rounds of cartridges and four of camps; Captain Ball's company of cavalry, numbering forty privates, armed with carbines and sabers, and with a very limited amount of ammunition; Captain Powell's company of cavalry, numbering about thirty, and twenty-two horses, no arms or equipments of any kind except a few of Colt's revolvers.
In the second place, the men were becoming almost useless from home influences. All but Captain Simpson's company belonged to Alexandria (and were necessarily scattered over the city), and it would have been impossible to have assembled the command at any particular point in time to have defended itself with the slightest possibility of success, or even to have made anything but a disastrous and demoralizing retreat in the face of an enemy.
In the third place, I was possessed of, apparently, such reliable information that the Government at Washington would occupy Alexandria on the 6th or 7th instant, and knowing that a large force was being concentrated at Fort Washington and that two steamers were anchored off Mound Vernon, I was induced to suppose that from that point an attempt would be made, in concert with a force from Washington City, to hem in my small and inefficient command, and thereby the services of good material be lost to my State and our cause.
I inclose herewith an order,* which was obtained secretly by Mr. J. D. Hutton, who was formerly employed in the War Department, and which shows the intention of the Federal Government as to Alexandria. The foregoing are my reasons and the causes for retiring to Springfield, and, in addition to which, from that position I could the more successfully assist in breaking up and destroying the road.
A. S. TAYLOR,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Virginia Volunteers.
Colonel P. ST. GEORGE COCKE,
Commanding Potomac Department of Virginia Volunteers.
MAY 9, 1861. - Exchange of shots between the United States steamer Yankee and the batteries at Gloucester Point, Va.
Report of Bvt. Colonel Justin Dimick, Second U. S. Artillery.
HEADQUARTERS FORT MONROE, VA., May 10, 1861.
COLONEL: I have been informed by Flad Officer Pendergrast that on the 7th instant a battery of three guns was discovered at Gloucester Point, on the York River, nearly opposite Yorktown. One of the small steamers attached to the Home Squadron (the Yankee) exchanged several shots with it yesterday, but as there was one 8-inch gun in the battery and those of the steamer were of much shorter range her commander hauled off.
With regard to the force necessary here, the portions of the surrounding country which should be occupied, and the defenses erected for the