HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, July 27, 1861.
Major-General BANKS, U. S. A., Harper's Ferry, Va.:
I have ordered Captain Newton back to you. I do not ask that you shall attempt to hold Harper's Farry at a great hazard even after being largely re-enforced. With lead than 15,000 men, and a probability of being attacked by 20,000, it may be better to cross the Potomac and take up position on Maryland Heights and opposite to Leesburg. Give me your views.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
Fort Monroe, July 27, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to report that by adding four steamers of my own to the steamers furnished by the Bay Line I was enabled to get off the forces mentioned in my report of yesterday, with the exception of four hundred men, who go forward in the boat to-night. I have been obliged to abandon the village of Hampton and withdraw the regiments that I have here under the walls of the fort. I beg leave further to report that upon advising with Colonel Phelps I have concluded to hold Newport News until I get instructions from the General Commanding. I have also the honor to ask instructions as to the disposition to be made of some twenty-five prisoners that I have taken-some in conveying intelligence to the enemy; some in supplying them with provisions, and all of whom refuse to take the oath of allegiance, or take it with reservation. I have no power to try them; it would be dangerous to allow them to escape, and I am guarding and feeding them at Fort Calhoun.
It becomes my duty to report that colonel Duryea, commanding Fifth New York Regiment, took with him certain negro slaves to Washington. They are reported nine in number. this was done against my express orders, and after a portion of them had been detained by my provost-marshal. this is a question of difficulty with departing regiments, and one upon which I ask instruction. I will forward to Colonel Baker, as senior officer commanding, the official returns as soon as they reach me.
Awaiting instructions, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER.
WAR DEPARTMENT, July 27, 1861.
Major General J. A. DIX,
Commanding Department of Maryland, Fort McHenry, Md.:
SIR: Your letter of the 24th instant, proposing to arm a home guard of 850 picked men in Baltimore, has been received and referred to the General-in-Chief, who approves the proposal warmly.
You are authorized to organize and equip a regiment of home guards as you suggest. The necessary instructions will be given to the Ordnance Department.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of War.