recruit, and they claim the right to send any one to Baltimore to do this. Are they under my control or not? I cannot discharge my duty as provost-marshal to the people here as my judgement directs if they have full discretion in this matter. I have permitted them to us boats, under the impression your order was imperative upon me.
A steamboat was introduced here on Saturday. Is she to pass freely? If so, I hazard little in saying that all communication with the Maryland shore will be cut off in a few days and our creeks will be blockaded by tugs.
I have forbidden the Maryland captain's boat to cross for the present because of misconduct and by request from friends in Maryland.
The desertion so far about equal the recruits.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. L. T. BEALE,
Major and Provost-Marshal.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT LOWER RAPPAHANNOCK,
Tappahannock, December 10, 1861.
Colonel D. H. MAURY,
Assistant Adjutant General, Brooke's Station, Va.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to state I have, in obedience to orders from the general commanding, visited Major Beale at his post on the Potomac. After consultation we both, came to the conclusion that some strenuous and immediate measures be taken to avoid, if possible, the contamination which might ensue. A greater portion of our loyal men, the chivalry and high-toned gentlemen of the country, have volunteered, and are far from their homes. There is a strong element among those who are left either to be non-combatants or to fall back under the old flag. I do not consider we have any time to lose. I therefore suggest that the militia of Westmoreland and Northumberland Counties be organized and relived by other troops, they being order away from the dangerous ground and placed under the immediate supervision of some one able to govern them. It is impossible fort me to be on both sides of the river at the same time, and I place but little confidence in the present militia ineffective system. This feeling of discontent is augmented in the Northern Neck by a report which has been circulated to the effect that he Neck is to be abandoned. These reports have come to me from various resources a having originated at the War Department and from the general commanding the district. Not having received anything to confirm or even to have suggested such a thought I have denied it, and impressed on all the persons asking for information the falsity of the rumor; for should such a step become necessary, I feel confident I should be informed of it in season to put the inhabitants, who look to me for protection, on their guard.
Your communication of the 6th instant in reference to the boats was received to-night after my return from the other side of the river. I shall forward instructions to Captain Lewis and the other officers in command in the Neck, in accordance with your orders. I inclose copy if order to Colonel [Samuel L.] Staughan on this subject.*
I cannot close this communications to the general commanding without serving the many more complaints are made by a certain class of
* Not found.