observe the Potomac River from the Point of Rocks to Seneca Mils. You will keep the main body of your force united in a strong position near Poolesville, and observe the dangerous fords with strong pickets, that can dispute the passage until re-enforced. Keep up a constant communication with General Banks' pickets near Point of ricks, as well as with those of General McCall and Colonel Smith, until the telegraphic communication is established. Make such arrangements as will enable you, in the event of an attack in force, to fall back on General McCall, or to enable him to move up to your support at some strong position which we can hold with the force at our disposal. Should you see the opportunity of capturing or dispersing any small party by crossing the river, you are at liberty to do so, though great discretion is recommended in making such a movements. The general object of your command is to observe and dispute the passage of the river and the advance of the enemy until time is gained to concentrate the reserves of the main force. I leave your operations much to you won discretion, in which I have the fullest confidence.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. MCCLELLAN,
HEADQUARTERS, August 12, 1861.
Major-General BANKS, U. S. A.,
Commanding, &c., Sandy Hook, Md.:
Brigadier-General Stone has been assigned, with six regiments, a battery, and a company of cavalry, to watch the ferries and fords between Great Falls of the Potomac and Point of Rocks. His headquarters will be at Poolesville. He will communicate with you on his arrival.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Baltimore, Md., August 12, 1861.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters of the Army:
COLONEL: The importance of this city, not only in its relations to the State of Maryland, but to the capital of the country, suggested to me at an early day after assuming the command of this department the necessity of a better system of defense than we have now. The few regiments in position here are scattered over too large a surface to support each other, and, with the exception of one within the public grounds which surround Fort McHenry, none of them are covered by defensive works. They occupy eminences, not one of which could be held against a superior force. The hostile feeling which exists in the city, and which does not even seek to disguise itself, indicates the absolute necessity of occupying and fortifying a commanding position nearer than Fort McHenry. The latter may reduce the city to ashes, but it is too distant to assail particular localities without injury to others. I do not underrate the value of this fort. It controls the commerce of the city, and I think it needs to be protected from a possible bombardment from a height about 200 feet more elevated, and about 2 miles distant, in a northerly direction. Of this I shall speak hereafter.
But I desire first to call the attention of the General-in-Chief to the propriety of entrenching Federal Hill. He is no doubt familiar with