War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0672 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

Search Civil War Official Records

WASHINGTON, June 10, 1861.

Major General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding Fort Monroe, Virginia:

SIR: Your letters of the 4th and 6th instant are received.

The General-in-Chief desires me to say in reply, that he highly commends your zeal and activity, which oblige the enemy to strengthen his camp and posts in your vicinity and hold him constantly on the alert. The principal value of your movement upon Suffolk is, that it would be the easiest route to the Gosport navy-yard, and the objects (including many ships of war) which our people on the former occasion left undestroyed. The possession of Norfolk within itself is of no importance whilst we blockade Hampton Roads; but the destruction of the railroads leading from that city, as far as you may find it practicable, would be a valuable coercive measure.

The naval commander should aid you in the collection of boats for joint expeditions, and the Secretary of War has said that he would cause some eighty horses to be bought and shipped to you for a light battery.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

CHAMBERSBURG, June 10, 1861.

Honorable SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

DEAR GENERAL: I have your note, and thank you for the attention. There is no use telegraphing General Scott or the Department to stop troops at Harrisburg. Under authority from General Scott I have ordered from New York regiments in succession to proceed from Harrisburg to this place, and in each case the colonels have refused to obey. If the Department will send orders to their camps to come here, they will probably obey; not else.

Remember, I beseech you, that Harper's Ferry is (as I have said from the first) the place where the first great battle will be fought, and the result will be decisive of the future. The insurgents are strongly intrenched, have an immense number of guns, and will contest every inch of ground. Under these circumstances I earnestly and urgently request that your order the regiments expected in Harrisburg and the three New Jersey regiments to proceed to this place with all dispatch. The commander of the Jersey regiments has served with me, and I can rely on him. The Jersey troops were put under my command by General Scott, but Governor Olden says you have ordered them to go to Washington, not being aware, I suppose, that they had been assigned to me by the General-in-Chief. Pardon me for pressing this subject. The importance of victory at Harper's Ferry cannot be estimated. I cannot sleep for thinking about it. Remember, my dear general, that my reputation and the reputation of our dear old State is at stake in this issue. I beseech you, therefore, by our ancient friendship, give me the means of success. You have the means; place them at my disposal, and shoot me if I do not use them to advantage.

With great regard, truly yours,

R. PATTERSON,

Please issue the orders at once.