large numbers, and that General Whiting, at Dumfries, has ordered [sic] General Holmes' whole brigade there immediately, and has also notified Captain Kennedy at Aquia Creek to look out.
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War.
FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, October 4, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:
Your dispatch of to-day received. I have a report from General Whiting, written at 12 m. to-day, that the enemy was advancing toward the Occoquan by the Pohick road. We have no information of such a movement. Our pickets near Pohick were driven early this morning. I have delayed this dispatch for fuller information, but have received none.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
October 4, 1861.
Major General Earl Van Dorn is assigned to duty with the First Corps, Army of the Potomac, and will report to General G. T. Beauregard.
By command of General Johnston:
THOS. G. RHETT,
CHARLESTOWN, October 5, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War ad interim, &c.:
DEAR SIR: At the instance of a number of the good citizens in this quarters of the State (my own judgment fully concurring) I am induced to call your attention to the condition of things here connected with the operations of the military, and I beg leave to protest that I do so under a full sense of the diffidence and delicacy which should govern a mere civilian in dealing with such subjects. I know of no one connected with the military at Winchester or on this border who is not my personal friend, and as to whom certainly I have none other than the most kindly feelings, and yet I deem it my duty to say broadly that the management of military affairs in this quarter is in utterly incompetent hands.
Ever since General Johnston marched his army from Winchester in July, most absurdly as it seems to me and to hundreds of others here, large bodies of militia have been assembled there and kept there, 30 miles from the border, were the enemy are constantly not only committing depredations, but doing everything in their power to debauch the minds of our people off from their allegiance and loyalty to the South, and recently, at the very time when the enemy are making their boldest inroads upon us, plundering, insulting females, and keeping the whole border for miles into the interior in a state of uneasiness and alarm, the militia from this (Jefferson) county have been marched away.