purpose of protecting mr. Sharpe, Government agent, now removing engines, &c., from Baltimore and Ohio Road to Strasburg. There are now stationed upon the Maryland side of the Potomac, opposite this county, two infantry regiments, guarding the canal, which is transporting coal and other supplies. I am within 1 1\4 miles of the river, and watch their movements daily for the whole distance which these regiments operate. I am confident, if not inconsistent with the present policy of the Government, that I can move over at some convenient point and break the canal, securing a large amount of said to be now in deports opposite this place. The only force above that mentioned by me on the river as far as the Hampshire line is stationed at Williamsport, some 15 miles up the river--about one and a half regiments. I had occasional skirmishes with the enemy in this vicinity, they having crossed twice--once at Harper's ferry and again at Shepherdstown. I have driven them back each time without loss, having only 1 man wounded, and he doing well. I have killed several of them each time. They fire at every man, woman, child, or horse that passes the river upon this side. I have sometimes allowed my men to return their fire with long range (small-arms) guns with some known effect.
I write this to you owing to my peculiar position, acting by order of Colonel McDonald, who is or is to be in a different locality, too far to give his attention to the minute of my movements, and, too, having under my command other forces than from his regiment, with no defined instructions as to policy to be pursued towards the enemy in this locality. Will you give them to me?
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding near Harper's Ferry.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE KANAWHA, Camp at Meadow Bluff, September 19, 1861.
Brigadier General HENRY A. WISE:
SIR: Your favor of yesterday, informing me that five of your wagons were loaded to my brigade, and have not been returned, has been received. Immediately upon receipt of your letter I made such inquiries of the commissary and quartermaster departments of my brigade about the matter, and found that quartermaster of the Twenty-second regiment, Colonel Tompkins, had in his possession two of the wagons of your legion. The letter of Captain Miller, which accompanies this, will explain to you the circumstances under which the wagons came into his possession, and will inform you that they have been returned to you today. They were taken without authority from me, and without my knowledge. I know of no other wagons in my brigade belonging to your Legion.
I supposed that my order to you of the 16th instant was sufficiently explicit, inasmuch as it is therein distinctly stated that I would put at once my column in motion, and that you would hold your command in readiness to bring up the rear, and I have not yet been able to discover how you could bring up the rear of a moving column by remaining stationary after this column had passed. My determination and order to fall back upon the most defensible point between meadow Bluff and Lewisburg was based upon what I conceived the safety of my command demanded. I left sure that it was the plan of the enemy to advance upon Lewisburg, and in at least two columns, by the turnpike and