saw more uncertain elements than these. I wish Lieutenant Treadwell would be telegraphed, "Give General Patterson what he wants." We could work with some certainty then. I will have another talk with Mr. Sherman in a few minutes.
F. J. PORTER.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF ANNAPOLIS,
Camp at Relay House, Md., May 8, 1861.
[SECRETARY OF WAR:]
SIR: I have given orders to detain all provisions and munitions of war that are attempted to be passed westward. I have given special directions for careful examinations of the express companies, to prevent them from carrying caps, of which the rebels are in great need. I have not as yet examined passengers' baggage, although large quantities of camp might be easily forwarded under such designation. I await your directions upon this subject.
At first I was inclined to permit, and did permit, provisions to pass into Western Virginia, but I am not convinced of the good faith of those consignments, and I have, therefore, ordered all provisions to be stopped, revising my original order. I have permitted groceries (proper) to be forwarded, such as coffee, sugar, pisces, fruits, &c. Since I have given the order, I have had a very full conversation with the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Mr. Garrett, who expressed doubts as to the policy we are pursuing. He avers that we are receiving much larger supplies of provisions from the West than we can by any possibility cut off, and that Governor Dennison, of Ohio, is most anxious to reopen communications through for the purpose of sending forward live-stock; that no portion of the trains has been stopped at Harper's Ferry, and that there may be hereafter no retaliation, and that it becomes important that the miners of Cumberland and Western Virginia should receive supplies from Baltimore, from whence he avers that they receive the most of their cured provisions. Although they have not stopped provisions on the trains at Harper's Ferry, they have stopped live stock and the sheep, about which I wrote in my former dispatch, had gone from our reach before I received the orders from the Department. At present I am returning these provisions and stores to the consignees at Baltimore, although they would be of great use to the troops at Washington. Sending them back will save complications, but will probably result in their being sent forward by a more circuitous route.
Companies of volunteer troops are passing within about six miles of me daily. I have been in doubt whether or not to stop them. The principal question being, not of our ability so to do, but what we should do with them after we have detained them. I await instructions upon this point also.
Being in doubt as to which office I should apply for instructions, I have forwarded this in duplicate to the Commanding General and to the War Department.
I have been called upon by an association of butchers and provision dealers from Baltimore, who desire that an order shall be transmitted from the Commanding General allowing certain cattle, now stopped at Bellaire, to be transported, via Harrisburg, to Baltimore. I see no ob-