War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0868 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

of artillery, and a naval battery, amounting, in the aggregate, to about eight thousand men, of whom about seven thousand three hundred are able to go into combat, well armed. The five regiments of infantry from Virginia have good arms, but are very deficient in cartridge-boxes, belts, and ball-screws. The Alabama regiment is well appointed, has brought its tents and camp equipage, and is well clothed. Arms in good order. The two regiments from Mississippi have with them their tents and camp equipage, but are not satisfied with their arms, which are chiefly of the old flint-lock musket altered into percussion. As usual with troops of this description, they all want rifles. They were informed that, for the present, they must rest content with such arms as it was in the power of the Government to give them. One of these regiments (the Eleventh), under the command of Colonel Moore, is very superior to the other (the Second), under Colonel Falkner. The latter is badly clothed and very careless in this appointments. The officers are entirely without military knowledge of any description, and the men have a slovenly and unsoldier-like appearance. The other regiment seems to take much pride in its appearance, and is endeavoring to improve itself by military exercises. All the infantry regiments are drilled daily in the school of the soldier and company, and valuable assistance in this respect is received from the young men who have been instructed at the military school at Lexington. But there is no ground in the immediate vicinity upon which the maneuvers of a large battalion can take place, consequently there is a lamentable want of knowledge of the first principles of formation into line and the changes of front and breaking into column. There are no regular regimental parades established, upon which to form quickly, in case of alarm. The Virginia regiments are only partially supplied with tents, and the main body of them are quartered in houses in the towns of Harper's Ferry and Bolivar. Crowded together, as they necessarily are, I fear that utter confusion must be the consequence of any sudden movement. I speak, of course, only of the present. Undoubtedly a proper course of instruction must produce its good effects, and it is to be hoped that a steady improvement will take place. The attention of General Johnston has been called to these important points.

The artillery companies are drilled in the school of the soldier, without arms. There are no artillery horses, and therefore there is no such thing on the ground as light artillery. There are but four light pieces with Captain Pendleton's company at Bolivar, at which the men are instructed in the manual of the piece. There are six guns with Captain Imboden's company at the Point of Rocks. At this place also Captain Ashby is stationed, with two companies of cavalry and two hundred infantry, his total force amounting to four hundred men, one hundred and thirty-three horses, and six guns. His two positions are immediately at the bridge crossing the Potomac from the Point of Rocks and at the Potomac Forge half a mile distant. His cavalry covers the country for twenty miles to his rear, while his attention is immediately given to the line of railroad from Baltimore, which passes the Point of Rocks on the Maryland side. I am quite confident that, which the vigilance which is exercised by Captain Ashby, no enemy can pass the point which he is directed to observe. Should he be assailed from his rear, say by way of Leesburg, he could easily cross the bridge and retreat upon Harper's Ferry; and in doing so destroy the bridge, the piers of which are already mined for such a contingency.

The naval batteries, under Lieutenant Fauntleroy, are placed on the northern and southern salient of the village of Harper's Ferry, and