War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0630 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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HARPER'S FERRY, VA., May 25, 1862.

(Received 9.20. p.m.)

I feel perfectly secure here for the present. The enemy cannot attack before to-morrow noon. If the promised re-enforcement arrives we can then afford to fight them, with the river in our rear. I have every reason to believe they are following General Banks, with a view to capture his army. I hope we shall have force enough to cut them off. Their treatment of prisoners and wounded is barbarous in the extreme. The women in Winchester fired upon our soldiers in the streets. Since I commenced this a dispatch has arrived giving information that General Banks was crossing the Potomac in retreat at Martinsburg [Williamsport.]



Honorable E. M. STANTON,


May 25, 1862-9.46 p.m

Brigadier-General SAXTON,

Harper's Ferry:

Your dispatch received, and your confidence a gratifies us. General Hamilton, formerly of Banks' division, was sent forward to join Banks and report to him for orders. He telegraphs that he is on the train with Mr. Watson. If he remains at Harper's Ferry and can render any service I desire him to do so, but not to supersede you in command. By special assignment of the President you are assigned to the command of the forces and operations at Harper's Ferry, without regard to seniority of rank. Please acknowledge the hour at which you receive this and report the state of affairs at that hour.


Secretary of War.

HARPER'S FERRY, VA., May 25, 1862.

(Received 10.10 p.m.)

All the troops which were in this vicinity-one company and a half of the First Potomac Home Brigade and six companies Eighth New York Cavalry-are here. None of the troops which have arrived since I came here have been cut off, except one sergeant and one private at Winchester this morning, of the First Regiment District Volunteers. This regiment arrived at Winchester just as General Banks commenced retreating. Three companies only got out of the cars. The train returned with the regiment, with the above-mentioned line of retreat, until it was too late. The whole force here does not amount to over 2,500 men, and 1,000 of these did not get ready to march before 12 o'clock to-day. I am anxiously looking for artillery.



His Excellency the PRESIDENT.