HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
Fort Monroe, Va., May 28, 1861.
The general in command has heard with pain that there are instances of despoliation of private property by some persons who have smuggled themselves among the soldiers of his command. This must not and shall not be. The rights of private property and of peaceable citizens must be respected. When the exigencies of the service require that private property be taken for public use, it must be done by proper officers, giving suitable vouchers therefor. It is made the special duty of every officer in command of any post, or of any troops on detached service or in camp, to cause all offenders in the matter of this order to be sent to headquarters for punishment, and such measure of justice will be meted out to them as is due to thieves and plunderers. If any corps shall conceal or aid in receiving plundered property or plunderers, such corps will be dealt with in its organization in such a manner as to check such practices.
This order will be promulgated by being three times read with distinctness to each battalion at evening parade.
Any citizen, at peace with the United States, despoiled in his person or property by any of the troops of this department, will confer a favor by forthwith reporting the outrage to the nearest officer.
By command of Major-General B. F. Butler:
W. D. WHIPPLE,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT N. E. VIRGINIA,
Arlington, June 4, 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. General,
Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report as follows, in compliance with your telegram of the 3rd instant requiring me to submit "an estimate of the number and composition of a column to be pushed towards Manassas Junction, and perhaps the gap, say in four or five days, to favor Patterson's attack on Harper's Ferry."
In view of the number of the enemy supposed to be Manassas Junction, at Centreville, Fairfax Station, Fairfax Court-House, and other places this side of Manassas, and of that at places beyond Manassas, but within a few hours of it by rail, and of the possibility of troops coming from the valley through the gap, I think the actual entire force at the head of the column should, for the purpose of carrying the position at Manassas and of occupying both the road to Culpeper and the one to the gap, be as much as 12,000 infantry, two batteries of regular artillery, and from six to eight companies of cavalry, with an available reserve ready to move forward from Alexandria by rail of 5,000 infantry and one heavy field battery, rifled if possible; these numbers to be increased or diminished as events may indicate. I propose that this force, composed mostly of new troops, shall be organized into field brigades, under active and experienced colonels of the Army, whilst their regiments are being recruited, aided by a few regular officers. This is made the more necessary from the fact that the presence on this side of some corps indifferently commanded has led to numerous acts of petty depredations, pillage, &c., which have exasperated the inhabitants and chilled the hopes of the Union men, and show that these regiments should