less, that I conjectured it must have been intended to cover an advance at some other point. I therefore made dispositions for watching the fords above and below, and threw out scouting parties to intercept any possible movement from the mouth of the Monocacy River.
It is very necessary to hold these ferries and protect the canal, for the enemy seem disposed to destroy everything they do not control, and the canal is absolutely necessary to the well-being of this neighborhood-one of the best small-grain districts in the State. It is now suffering for want of means of transportation and the appearance of troops here has had an excellent effect.
I shall for the present hold the main body of troops here, keeping a strong guard at each of the ferries and pickets up and down the river at the fords. I have this evening strengthened the posts at Seneca Mills and the aqueduct by two companies of the Ninth New York, and have moved the remainder of that regiment to a point near Dawsonville, to watch the roads leading toward Washington from the upper fords and ferries near the Point of Rocks.
It seems to be universally conceded here by the people along the river that Harper's Ferry has been abandoned, but it appears to me strange that no communication has come from General Patterson, who, if at Harper's Ferry,could communicate with me in four hours. I do not feel at liberty to detach a force so directly off my necessary line of operations.
From the above rough sketch [diagram on the original copy] you will perceive that I cannot with safety trust my command immediately at the ferries, without exposing the route to Washington to any force which might have crossed above, near the Monocacy and at the same time getting my troops into a horseshoe, with the rear exposed to the same force and a river in front. As at present arranged, they can all maintain their positions until relieved, and if attacked by an overwhelming force, all can withdraw towards Georgetown through defiles easily defended.
On the other hand, if all, or nearly all, the forces lately at Harper's Ferry have retired toward Manassas so that there remain none in sufficient numbers to make a demonstration by this route toward Washington, we are in a position here to be assembled and thrown into Leesburg at any moment.
I feel greatly the want of artillery, and should be glad if more pieces could be spared to me.
Very respectfully, I am, colonel,your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE.
Lieutenant Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,
Asst. Adjt. General, U. S. Army, Headquarters of the Army.
POOLESVILLE, June 17, 1861.
MY DEAR GENERAL; Your two notes of yesterday were both received by me this afternoon at Conrad's Ferry, where I had gone to make an examination of the position of the enemy, who opened fire on our guards there this morning with one or more 6-pounder guns. The force on the opposite side of the river does not appear to be large, probably in the immediate vicinity of the Ferry not more than 800 men; I could not see 100. We have there five companies of the New Hampshire regiment with pickets thrown out above and below the Ferry to watch the fords. I could see no other object for the firing