demoralizing as a defeat; and as the leaders will never be caught, more beneficial to our cause. Harper's Ferry has been retaken without firing a gun. The moral force of a just cause, sustained by a strong and equable Government, has conquered.
I am prevented from advancing rapidly by want of transportation. The interests of the Government are too momentous to risk a defeat or even a check, and hence I send out no inferior force. To-day and to-morrow about nine thousand men cross to Virginia, there to await transportation, and to be sent forward in detachments well sustained. In the mean time I propose and submit for the consideration of the General-in-Chief-
First. To transfer to Harper's Ferry my base of operations, depot, headquarters, &c.
Second. To open and maintain free communication east and west along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Third. To hold at Harper's Ferry, Martinsburg, Charlestown, &c., a strong force, gradually and securely advancing as they are prepared, portions towards Winchester, Strong, &c.
Fourth. To re-enforce Cumberland and move south to Romney, Morehead [Moorefield], &c., and operate with the column in the third proposition towards Woodstock, and cut off communications with the west.
We will thus force the enemy to retire, and recover, without a struggle, a conquered country.
To carry out this plan time is required, and that, with a strong, firm hand, will restore peace and unity to our distracted country.
To effect what I propose requires the co-operation of General McClellan, and the force from him to be under my control at Cumberland, both to secure the road as far as Grafton and to advance to Romney, &c.
With Harper's Ferry in possession, Baltimore falls. Maryland will be a quiet spectator, awaiting the result of the campaign, with her interests developing a feeling in favor of a permanent Federal Government.
If this proposition be adopted I shall continue my present operations, which have been directed to this end, and shall, as soon as I am prepared, occupy Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg; secure the railroad, &c., thence, and canal to Cumberland; use the railroad thence to Harrisburg, as accessory only.
In connection with this I respectfully request (presuming Baltimore to be so far peaceable that the safety of the railroad can be relied upon) permission to take from the Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad and the Northern Central road the regiments now guarding them. The latter I should at once transfer to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; the former to the line of operations.
If I am permitted to carry out this plan, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the canal will be in operation in a week, and a free line of communication to Saint Louis established.
I shall continue to carry out these views until checked; but if my course be approved, I wish to be informed. I am advancing into another department, but so essential is it, that for the instant I do not consider the sanction of the General-in-Chief requisite.
The telegram of the General-in-Chief recalling regulars is at hand. My reply is the substance of this communication, with the request that the regulars be permitted to remain for the present. Until Harper's Ferry is occupied and fortified I should fear the return of the rebels. This force is a good one, but the General-in-Chief has, by the regular