The commanding general will be at Hagerstown on Monday morning, when, if you can leave your post, he will be pleased to see you and receive your impressions and such information as Captain Newton will have obtained.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. J. PORTER,
HEADQUARTERS YORKTOWN, VA., June 15, 1861.
Major General B. F. BUTLER,
Commanding Fort Monroe, &c.:
SIR: I have just received yours of the 13th instant, with respect to the firing into the ambulance by my cavalry. I have simply to say that the statement of your informant is entirely untrue. My cavalry was never ahead of your column, whose retreat was so rapid as to cause many of your wounded to be left on the field, while others were carried off in the rear, instead of in the front of your column, as they ought to have been, and over bridges, which were immediately taken down to prevent pursuit.
You say the citizens, who defended their homes, must either be considered soldiers or assassins. They are neither, but brave men, defending their firesides against piratical invasion, and are entitled to the respect of all good men. Messrs. Whiting and Sively, whose certificate you have obtained while in duress, were captured before Whiting's house was burned. I stated that they knew the depredations which had been committed on their neighbors. These depredations which had been committed on their neighbors. These depredations are acknowledged by you both in your order and in your letter to me. The last paragraph of your order, guaranteeing protection only to citizens at peace with the United States, that is, only to persons who think as you think, destroys whatever merit there may have been in the previous clauses. With respect to the vedette, Private Carter, I desire to inform you that when a picket of four is placed out for twenty-four hours, as in this case, at least one is permitted to sleep. This picket had orders to retreat before a large force of the enemy. Four men against five thousand constituted, however, such great odds, as to have justified the retreat of the picket even without orders. Had Private Carter been awake, perhaps a retreat would not have been necessary.
Reciprocating the kind expressions contained in your letter, I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
CHAMBERSBURG, June 15, 1861.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND:
Have advanced under General Cadwalader First, Second, Third, Fourth, and part of Fifth Brigades, and the first four are beyond Hagerstown. I go to-day with my staff. General Cadwalader is ordered to exercise the greatest caution, feeling his way under careful reconnaissance under Captain Newton. Reports from Captain Newton are that Harper's Ferry is abandoned and destroyed. I believe it designed for a decoy.