overwhelming majority. I earnestly hope, therefore, that the Government will make all practicable arrangements to enable the voters in the Maryland corps to attend the polls in the districts in which they reside on the 6th of November next.
I am, very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. DIX,
CAMP ABOVE BUDD'S FERRY, October 27, 1861.
Brigadier General R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff, Department of Potomac, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: In reply to your communication marked "Confidential,"* I will state that if the only object were to sink the Geo. Page, it would be an easy matter, if she remains opposite Budd's Ferry. I have before informed you that the river bank at the ferry is elevated some 10 feet at least. About 150 or 200 yards back from the river is a depression. Heavy guns can be carried to within a mile of the ferry without being seen, and at night they can be carried this 1 mile to the inner edge of the elevated part of the bank, so that they can not only be screened from view, but be protected by the bluff bank, which forms a natural parapet. The guns must of course be put on top of this bluff and earthworks thrown up to protect them, but the guns can be put near the desired position without the enemy's knowing it, unless informed of it by rebel spies, of which there are many. If the Geo. Page remains opposite the ferry and in the river (Potomac), the distance from her to the proposed battery will be a little more or less than 1 1/2 miles, according to her position on the river. But this proposed work must be constructed under the fire of at least a dozen guns opposite, and we know that some of them throw a shell 6 1/2 inches in diameter and 14 inches long. A line of batteries as long and as formidable as may be required can be constructed on this side, but they must be made in sight of and subject to the enemy's fire.
Lieutenant Harrell, of the Navy, attached to the United States steamer Union, informed an officer of cavalry yesterday that there was on board his vessel a rifle cannon, probably a 64-pound gun, and one of the best in the Potomac flotilla, which is too heavy for the Union, and if the Army will transport it to its proper position, the Navy will land it at a suitable point. The cavalry officer said the information can be considered official, and he reported it to me. But there is no heavy truck here by means of which such a gun [can] be transported.
But the results to be obtained from the destruction of the Page are not in my opinion commensurate with the danger and probable loss of life attending the construction of this battery, when it is considered that as soon such a battery is constructed the Page will withdraw out of its range, and the attempt to destroy her by this means will probably be futile. If any batteries are to be established, they should be with a view to opening and keeping open the river; to do which from this side there should be a long line of the most formidable guns, with mortar batteries on the hills in the rear, which when completed will be able to destroy those of the enemy. Our Army occupying this part of Maryland, there is little chance of the enemy attempting to cross the river.