of this date. In regard to the number of troops deemed necessary for this department, I have already in my letters of this date expressed the difficulty which I experience in forming an opinion from not having had time since my arrival to visit any other of this department, or to converse or receive reports from any officer in command of troops.
In forming any opinion upon this subject I would be guided by a consideration of the question of a probability of an advance of hostile troops, of which probability I have no means of obtaining information. Should no such advance take place, I should suppose one or two regiments here sufficient for present protection, if there should be nothing to develop the hidden and stifled sympathies which certainly exist, and of which I have the candid admission of persons of high standing here, who assume to be in favor of the Government and the Union, but who would immediately take part against it if their fears of the consequences were removed.
On receipt of your letter, which gave me the first official [information] I had that Mr. Ross Winans was a military prisoner at Fort McHenry, I sent an officer to read to him the condition of the written parole, upon acceptance of which I was instructed to liberate him. The result was that Mr. Winans signed the parole and was immediately liberated. I inclose the parole duly signed and witnessed.
I have to report that on leaving Philadelphia three regiments of the First Division of Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Colonels Ballier, Gray, and Owen, mustered into the service of the United States (and not then furnished with clothing and equipments), were directed to remain until properly equipped. The regiments of Colonels Dare and Nagle are fully equipped, and are stationed upon the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad near to Havre de Grace and Perryville. They could, if it was desired, be brought forward immediately and replaced by the regiments before mentioned or by two regiments from Ohio that were in camp near Philadelphia when I left there. I think it proper to mention the fact, although having nothing to do with my present command.
The power to arrest persons under certain circumstances, and to hold them prisoners though they should be demanded by writs of habeas corpus, is certainly a high and delicate trust. I will use every effort to execute it, if necessary, with prudence and discretion, and with the best judgment I am capable of giving to the subject. As a matter of caution I would merely state that I did not receive any further power to arrest persons under circumstances than that which is contained in your letter of this date, as your letter of this date, as your letter seems perhaps to imply that I was to receive a power with instructions to accompany the letter. Awaiting your orders, either by letter or telegraph,
I am, very respectfully, yours,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
WASHINGTON, May 18, 1861.
Major General B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers:
SIR: You will proceed to Fort Monroe and assume the command of that post, when Colonel Dimick will limit his command to the regular troops, composing a part of its garrison, but will, by himself and his officers, give such aid in the instruction of the Volunteers as you may direct.