column, to support him. Benham being an excellent engineer officer, such a course will relieve the necessity of detaching one from the Army of the Potomac; and as he is on the best personal terms with Kelley, and not apparently on good terms with Rosecrans, I think the efficiency of the public service would also be promoted by the change. The troops to be detached from Rosecrans are of a peculiar class, adapted to the service in hand. I need them, and they can be readily replaced from Ohio; and as the rebels will undoubtedly, for the sake of carrying on their drafting and recruiting, endeavor to repossess themselves of Romney, I think no time should be lost in making these changes if they meet with your approval. Supported, as I have stated, by using a small corps of mounted men, and by free disbursement of secret-service money, Kelley can certainly keep himself apprised of any movements of the enemy, whether from the South, Lee's column of the direction of Winchester. In the present state of the public mind in Upper Virginia and Western Maryland, growing out of our late defeat at Ball's Bluff, and reverse which mich happen to Kelley would have a very bad effect on the success of our proposed recruitment.
Again, as the Government is now fairly committed, by the taking of Romney, either to a retreat or the reconstruction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, can we fail as strategists to call our forces within supporting distance while our recruitment are going on? As the troops gather the reconstruction of the road takes place, and suddenly, and much before our enemies expect it, this important avenue of supplies will not only be opened, but the Army of the Potomac, connected by rapid transportation with those of the West, re-enforced and strengthened.
Mr. Barstow will present to you my personal views on the subject of the letters to which I refer.
With the utmost regard, General, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. W. LANDER,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS HOOKER'S DIVISION,
Six miles from Budd's Ferry, Md., October 29, 1861.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Adjutant-General Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: At 8 o'clock this evening I received your communication dated the 28th instant,* directing me to throw up, during the night, if practicable, earthworks to protect the two 20-pounder Parrott guns while opening fire upon the rebel steamer Page. After consultation with Captain Williamson, I informed Captain Craven that the steamer had not be visible from this side of the river since the arrival of our batteries except for a few hours directly on their reaching here. She is up the river, and owing to a bend in it and the high banks make her perfectly safe from any fire we may deliver either on land or water. Indeed, the tops of the smoke pipes cannot be seen from an elevated position behind this bank. The tops of most of the schooners lying with her are scarcely perceptible.