The crossing at or near Harper's Ferry was to secure a large quantity of provisions seized by the force at Frederick, and to hold that place of entry for provisions.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA, Hagerstown, Md., June 28, 1861.
Colonel J. J. ABERCROMBIE,
Seventh Infantry, Commanding Sixth Brigade:
SIR: The commanding general directs you to march as early as practicable to-morrow morning with two regiments of your brigade, and encamp near the First Brigade at Downsville. The third regiment will be left as guard to the store-houses, hospitals, &c., in town. A guard of one officer and twenty-five men will be sent to guard the property, founds, &c., in this building pertaining to the staff departments. Captain McMullen is directed to report to you with his company to march at the same time.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. J. PORTER,
HAGERSTOWN, June 28, 1861.
Colonel E. D. TOWSEND:
Telegrams of 25th and 27th received. The enemy being superior in number, 15,000, with twenty-two guns, and having just assumed a threatening attitude and location, I would not be warranted under the orders of the General-in-Chief in crossing the river with my single battery, raw and immovable for want of harness. Send me the Rhode Island regiment and battery, or one or more batteries in condition for service, and I will cross on their arrival. If you will send regulars it will add to the obligation. Unless the force in front is dispersed or driven back, I cannot well carry out the judicious suggestion of moving on Leesburg.
HAGERSTOWN, MD., June 28, 1861.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,
Asst. Adjt. General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.;
COLONEL: I haver the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a telegram from the General-in-Chief, dated 27th instant, saying: "I infer from this that orders have been sent me to cross and attack the enemy; if so, I have not received them.
Captain Newton, of the Engineers, returned at midnight, after two days' absence in the direction of Sharpsburg and Dam Numbers 4, and reports, on information he considers reliable, 5,000 men from Falling Waters to Dam Numbers 4; 4,500 in the vicinity of Shepherdstown, under