disposable troops, I venture to assert that no more important object can be found for their employed. Superior numbers and the control of the river and possession of a great number of vessels, give the United States troops in Maryland opposite to Evansport great advantages over us. Should he (the enemy) establish himself on our shore in force, he will so intrench himself in a few hours as to make it impossible to dislodge him, and we shall soon have a fortified army on our right flank. The condition of the roads is now such from the rains, unusual at this season, that the troops here cannot move with such facility as to be able to guard this position and watch the Lower Occoquan and shore of the Potomac near its mount. We have great difficulty in transportating our supplies from Manassas even. It is necessary, therefore, in order to prevent the apprehended landing of the enemy, that we should have as nearly as possible a sufficient number of troops to repel the enemy on the Occoquan or the bank of the Potomac. It would be impossible to march from this position in time to aid Brigadier-General Whiting after learning the enemy's designs, which could only be known after his movements should be commenced.
Should the enemy establish a new base on the river below the Occoquan in the manner indicated above, it would be impossible to hold this position. The superiority of numbers against us mukes it impracticable to divide this army. This position cannot be given up upon any conjuncture of the enemy's designs. I therefore respectfully urge that any disposable troops you may have be ordered to this army for service under General Writing. Should they be at Richmond, the Fredericksburg road would be most expeditious for a part of the force at least.
The Adjutant-General informed me that 6,000 or 7,000 of General Lorning's troops would be near Staunton about his time. They might serve here during the crisis, and afterward perform the service for which they have been intended.
This will be delivered to you by Lieutenant Lane, son of the late United States Senator from Oregon.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
P. S.-McC. regards the division of this army as his best chance of success.
HEADQUARTERS TROOPS NEAR DUMFRIES,
November 15, 1861.
Private Hanan, of Andrews' battery, has just returned from Maryland, where he has been since October 24. He reports very much the same as all others as to force and intention of the enemy. They will attack by the flotilla above and below, and attempt throwing a very large force across. He landed at Holland Point, and informs me that he learned above Occoquan that they were building a pontoon brigade to cross the Occoquan, and the reconnaissance the other day was to select a place for it. This is important. I have seen French. He pronounces the batteries untenable against fire from the opposite side and the fleets; it fact, expresses himself just as I did, you recollect, when I saw them. He is very much disgusted, and he goes in for my plan of charging to Cockpit. I have written to Richmond for permission. If they cross the Occoquan in heavy force I shall probably fight at the Neabsco crossing.