The Page is not of much importance to either party. The river is effectually closed by batteries from Mathias Point to where our fleet lies. The object of batteries must be to open the river and destroy the enemy's works, and the work is a formidable one, and cannot be done in a night.
My examinations of the river have given me all the general information required, and there are several reasons why I should be allowed to go to Washington for a day or two. If I am to construct batteries I should like to have a personal interview with you and arrange plans, &c. I left Washington, expecting to return in six days. The bureau has estimated for money for my use, and doubtless it is ready for me now. I want instruments, and have now nothing but a little goniometer and a prismatic compass. I want to provide myself with camp equipage, that I may be independent of the messes of line officers. I have not brought with me clothes for an extended stay in camp, and I want to buy another horse. For these and other reasons I request you will send me an order to repair to headquarters at such time as you think my services can be dispensed with in this vicinity. In the mean time I will endeavor to accumulate more matter for your information. I can go to the city on horseback or by water and return in the same manner; distance, 40 miles.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. WILLIAMSON,
Captain, U. S. Topographical Engineers.
P. S.-Mr. Posey's house is on a hill about a mile back from the ferry, and his windows are in full view of the rebel batteries. He is undoubtedly in concert with the rebels, but tangible proof is wanting. It is believed, however, he communicates intelligence to the enemy by means of mirrors and candles from his windows, the women of the house taking an active part in these proceedings. It is very certain the rebels know all that we are doing. If heavy guns are to be brought to the ferry, that house should be closed or the inmates sent away. The field artillery is now camped back of his house.
I have answered the word confidential in its literal sense. Do you wish me to consult with General Hooker and converse with him to the subject?
WASHINGTON CITY, October 28, 1861.
Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT,
Commanding U. S. Army:
GENERAL: I have the honor to introduce my acting aide-de-camp, Simon F. Barstow, esq., a gentleman whom you will find worthy of your favorable consideration; also the following views to offer, begging you to consider that the urgency of the case must be my excuse for these suggestions:
It is very clear to me that Kelley must be supported at once; his success is a blow in the very face of the rebels, and they will hardly remain quiet under it. He is brave to audacity, and, although exactly the right man in the right place, should be strengthened with a class of experience, and the very little caution required, which he does not possess.
For these reasons, referring you confidentially to the accompanying letters, I especially advise the calling up of Brigadier-General Benham, the Tenth and Thirteenth Ohio Volunteers, now in General Rosecrans'