HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION PA. VOLS.,
Philadelphia, Pa., May 6, 1861.
Major F. J. PORTER,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Dep't of Pennsylvania:
MAJOR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters of yesterday's date,* received at a late hour last night, in one of which I am informed that the Commanding General directs you (me) to hold your (my) command in readiness to move at an early call from him.
It becomes my duty again to call your attention to the fact that three of the regiments of this division are not only without clothing, but also without arms or cartridge-boxes, camp equipage or cooking utensils of any description, and that there has not been a single cartridge-box issued to any one of the eight regiments of this division. Moreover, I yesterday made a more particular report that the muskets issued some days ago to the other regiments of the division are entirely unfit for service. Most of the springs of the locks are broken, and those that are not will not explode a cap. Some of the barrels are not in a condition to resist a discharge, and the alterations of some of them are so imperfect as to render them dangerous to those who use them, and it is the opinion a gunsmith employed in one of the regiments, to endeavor to put them in order at their own expense, that a discharge of them would do more harm to those who attempted to fire them than they could do to an enemy in their front.
Under these circumstances, I protest against these men being sent into service with such arms and without the means of protecting their ammunition from the weather. My great reliance upon these men is their confidence in each other. Place them in front of an enemy without arms or ammunition upon which they can depend, and that confidence is gone. I would consider the responsibility which would rest upon me a heavy one were I not urgently to call the attention of the Government to this fact. The character of this city, of the State, and of the country, to say nothing of the officers and men connected with the command, requires me officially, as I now do, to place this statement upon record, and to ask for a board of survey to examine and report upon the condition of these arms.
In my former communication I omitted to state that some of the plugs in the vents were easily driven out, and holes in the sides of the nipples had been filled with putty. Many of the threads of the screws were imperfect, and many of the locks are so wood-bound that it is with difficulty they can be cocked.
I sent to you in my report, on the 4th instant, letters reporting these defects from the commanding officers of three regiments of this division-Colonel patterson, Colonel Lewis, and Colonel Lyle-and I now inclose reports from Colonel Dare and from Colonel Gray upon the same subject. I repeat, that to send these regiments into service with such arms would be to discourage the command, and to give them a want of confidence in their superiors and in their Government.
I am, major, vary respectfully, yours,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.