troops. As soon as they arrive he desires that they be forwarded to this place, where they will be issued to the troops for whom they are intended.
I am, &c.,
R. S. GARNETT,
HARPER'S FERRY, VA., May 21, 1861.
Colonel R. S. GARNETT,
Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: The force now assembled at this place and its outposts consists of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Virginia Regiments; the Fourth Regiment from Alabama; two regiments from Mississippi; five companies of Virginia Artillery; eight companies of Virginia Cavalry; four companies of Kentucky Infantry, and some small detachments, amounting to seven hundred men, of whom it may be said that seven thousand are available for active service in the field, well armed.
On Sunday, the 19th, I inspected the Alabama regiment and the Third and Fourth Virginia. Yesterday it rained so continuously that nothing could be done. In the evening I visited the position opposite the Point of Rocks, distant twelve miles from this point, where Captain Ashby, of the Virginia cavalry, six pieces of light artillery, and a company of riflemen, together with some men from Maryland, only a part of whom are armed. His cavalry is employed in active reconnaissance of the surrounding country, and his artillery has complete command of the bridge crossing the Potomac, the piers of which are mined, and can be instantly destroyed, in case of necessity; in addition to which, he holds possession of the road at the Point of Rocks in such manner as to prevent the passage of a train.
I have not yet visited the Maryland Heights, where redobouts are now going up; but, from frequent conversation which I have had with Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan, the officer in charge of the work, I am convinced that but little more is necessary to render that part of the ground quite secure. Of this, however, and other subjects, I shall be able to give more definite information in a more detailed report.
The Maryland Heights being out of the question, the most probable line of approach would be by Hagertown and Shepherdstown, making the attack from the northwest. But the precautions of Colonel Jackson have rendered such an approach a matter of great risk. At Shepherdstown we have the bridge, and the conformation of the ground is, I understand, all in favor of the resisting force.
The troops here are all raw and inexperienced-wanting even in the first elements of the school of the soldier-and there is a great scarcity of proper instructors. Many of the captains are singularly ignorant of their duties. Guard duty is very loosely done; and, indeed, there is apparent on every side the mere elements of men and arms, without the discipline and organization of an army. There is a sad deficiency in clothing and in camp and garrison equipage; and I fear that the exposure to which the troops have recently been subject in the cold, rainy weather will swell the list of sick, already large. To make up, however, for this loose state of things, so striking to the professional eye, it must not be forgotten that a fierce spirit animates those rough-looking men; and, if called upon, even now, to meet their enemy, I have no fear of the result of battle. There is a determination abroad among men