envelope with their fire the whole of the town of Bolivar and the approaches by the immediate banks of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. There are at this time but two 32-pounders in position in each battery on plain platforms, and the guns on ship's carriages. It is intended to increase the number of guns in each battery to six. These batteries would be very formidable in resisting an attack upon the town of Harper's Ferry.
The cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel J. E. B. Stuart, is in very good condition, and quite effective. Their arms are a small-sized revolver and a saber; no carbines. The horses are good, and all the men ride well. They are made exceedingly useful in the duties of scouts and vedettes, covering a considerable extent of country to the front.
The hospital department is very deficient in every respect. There are a few beds in the general hospital, but there is no provision whatever made for the car of wounded men, in the event of an engagement taking place. Requisitions for medicines and for hospital stores have been made on the surgeon-general and Richmond, and he is now earnestly endeavoring to supply the wants of this department at Harper's Ferry. The general state of health in the regiments was good, and there was no epidemic of any kind. Exposure to many cold, rainy nights had caused some severe colds among the men from the extreme South, and there were some cases of the ordinary camp diseases, but nothing very serious.
The clothing of the troops is not abundant, and, in the regiment from Mississippi, under Colonel Falkner, almost every necessary is wanting. They seem to have come away from home without making proper preparations in this respect, and, indeed, it would seem that they expected to receive on their arrival in Virginia all the appointments of a soldier. Fortunately the approach of warm weather will obviate the necessity of a full supply of clothing for these men; otherwise they could not enter upon a campaign in their present condition. I recommend an early attention on the part of the proper officers to this important subject of clothing.
In regard to camp and garrison equipage, so much is required that I do not consider it necessary to enter into particulars. From what I can learn of the deficiency of such articles in the adjacent country and even in Richmond, it will be necessary for the Quartermaster's Department to cause everything of the nature referred to be made, and this should be done at once. The supplies of subsistence are abundant, except in the item of bacon. There is plenty of beef, and a large quantity of flour on hand, enough to last many months. In view of the defense of the immediate position at Harper's Ferry, there is now there an ample force for that purpose. The enemy can make no successful attack, either by the way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad or by the Maryland Heights, both of which approaches can easily be defended. The principal direction by which an attacking force would move would be by crossing the Potomac from eight to fifteen miles above by fords which are known to be practicable, and then, moving circuitously, come in by the roads leading to the northwestern approach to the Ferry. The troops moving out could meet the enemy in several good positions, and, if forced back by superior numbers, could yet take up their lines on the edge of the town, and, with the assistance of the artillery, could defy and beat back five times their numbers with perfect ease.
Under the existing state of affairs, that is, with the means at hand, for offensive operations coming from Baltimore or Pennsylvania, Harper's Ferry may be looked upon as perfectly safe. But if the war is to