MANASSAS, VA., July 21, 1861.
(Received at Culpeper 21st.)
President JEFFERSON DAVIS:
A general engagement going on; our men cool and confident; General Johnston's troops coming on in good time.
STAUNTON, July 21, 1861.
General R. E. LEE:
The distance by Millborough to Huntersville to Huttonsville is thirty-one miles longer than by turnpike to go from Monterey to Huttonsville. By Huntersville is thirty-four miles out of the way, over a bad road. The defense of Cheat Mountain will not close the passage of the enemy to Hunttonsville. The maps are unreliable. You can only depend on report of engineers after examination.
M. G. HARMAN.
HEADQUARTERS NORTHWESTERN ARMY, VIRGINIA,
Monterey, July 21, 1861.
Colonel GEORGE DEAS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: The commanding general must excuse me for suggesting and urging the importance of sending troops up to the Millborough Station to advance upon the Huntersville and Huttonsville turnpike. The best information which I receive indicates that the enemy will move in that direction, if it be his intention to descend upon the railroad. I have already written you that I had sent the North Carolina regiment in that direction. I was fully apprised of the difficulties and possible dangers which might beset it upon the march, but I felt profoundly that not to do so would be practically to surrender the country. The people needed encouragement of some sort, and while no demonstration of power whatsoever was being made upon our side, General McClellan was shrewdly and actively at work in holding out inducements to them to meet his advance; if not with villiagness, at least with resignation. I must confess, however, that I am watching Colonel Lee's progress with no little anxiety, and should be much relieved to know that a column of any dimension whatever was in motion from the east upon which in case of necessity he might fall back. I am greatly apprehensive that before he can possibly reach the Elk Mountain the enemy will be upon it, and all mountain advantages for holding that country lost to us forever. My only hope now is that the people of that region may have taken up arms in their own defense, but this hope grows fainter day by day. That the general may be fully apprised of the discouragements as well as the embarrassments by which I am surronded, I would beg to refer specially to copies of letters marked Nos. 1 and 2; from the first of these he will learn that the rifle corps, organized from all of the militia who reported at this point for duty, have failed to come up to my just expectations. I am afraid that the rule ex uno disce omnes may be applicable to them all. From the other he will perceive the difficulty of holding the point we have taken upon the Alleghany Riirst from its indefensibility, in a scientific point of view, and secondly, from the discouragement which has evidently betaken our forces very generally; and yet after a thorough examination of the whole