exaggerated reports; people really believe that 10,000 Union men were opposed to 4,000 rebels, and that the latter almost massacred them. I am very glad to learn that it is not so bad as was at first supposed. Poor Baker have been very rash to rush with his small force into the jaws of 7,000 men.
I wish to inform you, colonel, of what I know from an undoubted source, that signals were made from the Maryland shore when the first boat crossed, which enabled the rascals to be ready for just what they are waiting for, to entrap a small force at a disadvantage. This is their only object and policy at Leesburg. Had 20,000 men been quickly transported across the river and made a simultaneous advance, they would not have fought there. I dare not disguise form you the fact that their generals have made great capital out of this engagement, and have to some extent succeeded in creating enthusiasm among the men. They are erecting earthworks about a mile and a half south of Leesburg near the railway, and another in the woods about a mile to the west of it, but at present there are no guns there. I think they are to cover a retreat if one is necessary.
The army at Manassas and forward to Centerville is neither diminished not augmented, except that two regiments have been removed from Fredericksburg to Gainesville. They say they have invincible batteries on the lower Potomac, but evidently do not believe it themselves, as they continually fear and attack from that direction. Two batteries have recently been erected on James river; one is at a point commanding the river and a creek compelled to go from Richmond to work on them, and some guns have been sent there. Some free negroes who pleaded other employment were told that they would be sold and sent farther South if they did not go.
I meant to have said, in connection with Leesburg, that they give the list of 60 officers as having been killed there.
The general belief in Richmond is that the fleet at Old Point Comfort is bound for Galveston, and some information had reached Mr. Davis that there is no doubt of it. What action he has taken I am unable to say; but no troops have left Manassas, and, except some stray companies, there are none in Richmond to send.
There are preparations making at Norfolk to run the blockade as soon as the fleet leaves there. A large ship, the name of which I forget, is said to be ready for sea. I know not whether the information is of any value, but I can assure you beyond a doubt that there is not force above the hill about a mile north of Leesburg, and will iterate that I am quite certain that the numbers stated at Leesburg are, strictly speaking, correct.
I shall return to-morrow morning to Leesburg; hope to get away before daylight. I have drawn upon General Banks for some money ($125), having none, which you will please refund. If I get any important information within two or three days I shall return he and come to Washington. I do not believe the rebels have any plan of attack whatever, but are simply waiting (Micawber-like) for something to turn up. they are certainly in better spirits than they wee two weeks ago and better off for provisions. It is openly boasted at manassas that they have Confederates in the United States Army, but in such a way as would lead one to suppose that it is mere braggadocio.
With great respect, I am, colonel, your obedient servant,
Colonel MARCY, Headquarters Army of the Potomac.