and obtained an interview with him. He informed me that in taking possession of the spring west of Mill Creek he had no other object than to get water for his garrison, and that unless the safety (health) of his troops required an expansion of the area within the Government limits, for encampments, &c., he had no idea, under existing circumstances, of an aggressive movement. He frankly told me at the same time that he did not know in how short or long a time these circumstances might be changed. He laughed at the idea of violence being contemplated towards Hampton. He expressed great regret at the present state of things, and was kind and conciliatory. We agreed it would be better for the guards not to approach too close together. Accordingly I gave orders to the guards from Hampton not to go within half a mile of the fort. Judging from the means of information within my reach, and from what I saw and heard near the fort (I was not admitted beyond a point near the gate, on the outside), I have no hesitation in asserting that no mules or horses have been landed there in any numbers, and that the force is not sufficient, in my landed there in any numbers, and that the force is not sufficient, in any respect, to warrant the supposition of an invasion from that quarter. I shall endeavor to keep you informed of any important changes in the state of things around Fort Monroe.
While in Hampton I directed the formation of a camp of instruction and observation, within about three miles of the town, to be commanded by Major Cary. This camp will be the rendezvous of five companies, numbering about three hundred and twenty men. It is as well to say that this camp will not cost the State anything, the material being furnished by the county. The same is true of the camp near Williamsburg. Major Cary is instructed to maintain a system of patrols, and to keep pickets at the most important points and landings; also, to obstruct the roads, as far as is compatible with their use by the neighborhood.
In addition to the five companies, there are seven foot and one horse company (about 500 men) ready, or very nearly so, to be mustered into service. Of these 820 volunteers not more than 300 are armed, and of the 300, at least 150 have only flint-lock muskets. There ought to be four hundred percussion-lock muskets sent at once. As yet I have received but two hundred and fifty flint-lock guns, and a part of them cannot be used, being imperfect.
No further orders have been received by me respecting the militia. Colonel Mallory wishes to know who has the control of his regiment. The question as to my power to call them out ought to be settled. The post as Yorktown, I infer, is not under my jurisdiction. I shall, with pleasure, afford to the officer in command there all the aid I can. Are the approaches below Yorktown to be under the supervision of Major Montague, also?
As the quartermaster for this district has declined, allow me to remind you of Mr. Saunders, better qualified than any one else I know.
The adjunct professor of mathematics at William and Mary College has, for several weeks, been engaged in examining and surveying the county here for the defense, and it would be proper to give him an appointment in the civil engineering department of the State. The name of the gentleman is Snead.
A half a dozen cadets could be most usefully employed in the camp of instruction here, and I respectfully ask that this number be sent.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. S. EWELL,
Active Virginia Volunteers.