judgment, will be in great danger of attack from Yorktown and Warwick, where the Confederate are now concentrating troops across James River from Smithfield to Warwick.
From the very best sources of information I can get there are about eight thousand men at Yorktown, and some ten thousand at Norfolk and vicinity. Might I suggest that we here now are too few for safety, unless under the guns of the fort, and too many for comfort or health even within the fort?
Would it not be better, if no offensive movement is intended from this quarter, to withdraw three regiments and a light battery, which I have just mounted, leaving about two thousand men for a garrison, which I remember the Commanding General remarked would be a sufficient number?
I ask direction upon the point whether I shall hold Newport News or withdraw the troops from it. It will be at once occupied by the enemy when we leave it. It will be recollected that the Vermont regiment will be entitled to return home in a week from date. I trust my action will meet the approval of the Commanding General.
I have now no brigadier, and my senior colonels, with the exception of Colonel Phelps, who will be away by limitation of time in a few days, are with the withdrawing regiments.
I have the honor to be, most truly, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
HARPER'S FERRY.--(Received July 26, 1861.)
Received dispatch. Twenty thousand men is the least force that can hold this place against a probable attack. There are three points that must be held-Loudoun Heights, Maryland Heights, and the plateau beyond the village of Bolivar that commands the road to Winchester. If the enemy has possession of either one, it will command the town. If attacked with our present force wa shall secure the Maryland Heights, which will make the town absolutely untenable by the enemy and cover our line of communication. Orders have been sent to Hagerstown to have the stores ready for removal if attack is threatened in that direction. We are sending as far as convenient the regimental wagons across the ferry for safety. No indications of a movement of the enemy is seen here, but various reports of his intentions.
There is no doubt that the local cavalry scouts are busy in impressing men into service of the rebels, but that is all we know with certainty.
The remaining three months' force is unreliable.
N. P. BANKS,
WASHINGTON, July 26, 1861.
Major General N. P. BANKS, Commanding, &c., Harper's Ferry:
Your telegram of July 26 to Honorable Wm. H. Seward received.* I am desired to answer it.
Your post is in no particular danger for the next three or five days. In the mean time I will try to re-enforce you to the number of twenty or twenty-one regiments.