I inclose copies of my telegraphic and written order to these officers; also of a proclamation ordered to be distributed among the inhabitants as the troops advance, and of an address to be issued to the troops. These are very hurriedly prepared, but I hope they will meet the approval of the Lieutenant-General.
Colonel Kelley left Wheeling at about 7 a. m. to-day. Colonel Irvine crossed to Benwood at about 10 o'clock. Colonel Steedman moved to Parkersburg at about 10 o'clock. By telegraph this morning I directed the necessary supplies to re-establish the telegraphic communication, and to repair the bridges, &c., to be forwarded at once from Wheeling.
General Morris holds himself ready to move from Indianapolis, on receipt of telegraphic orders, with from two to five regiments, should it become necessary. The regiments at Camp Dennison are in the midst of the process of reorganization for three years' service. By to-morrow night one fine regiment will be ready to move,and the others will soon be prepared. I hope, however, that the force already, detailed towards Grafton will suffice for the end in view. I telegraphed this morning to Major Oakes, making him an acting aide-de-camp temporarily, that he might be able to interfere authoritatively should it prove necessary.
Hoping that my course will meet the approval of the General,
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.
P. S. - Nothing is yet known by the public of this movement. I have thus far succeeded in keeping it secret, and hope to do so until Grafton is occupied or the troops considerably advanced.
P. P. S. - Have this instant heard from Colonel Kelley, as follows:
Agreeably to your orders, I left my camp this morning at 5 o'clock with my regiment and Captain Hayes' company of the Second Regiment. Just arrived here without accident or casualty. found the road in good order. Bridges all safe, and guarded by the railroad-company men and loyal citizens. Will move forward four miles to the burned bridges. This town will be occupied by Colonel irvine, who follows. We will repair bridges soon as possible.
I also hear that Parkersburg is occupied and all quiet.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
Instructions to Colonel B. F. Kelley, Fist Virginia Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, May 26, 1861.
Colonel B. F. KELLEY, First Regiment Virginia Volunteers:
COLONEL: I have telegraphed you this evening, instructing you to make a forward movement on Fairmont. The principal reason for this order was the burning of the bridges, which caused me to anticipate, by some two or three days, the more carefully-prepared measures I had contemplated, with the intention of not only securing the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, but also of driving all the armed secessionists out of Western Virginia.
In your present movement you will be careful to run no unnecessary risk, for it is absolutely necessary that we should not meet even with a