HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Near Alexandria Seminary, Va., March 17, 1862.
Brigadier General James S. Wadsworth, having been assigned to duty by the direction of the President as military governor of the District of Columbia, will, besides the military command of the city of Washington, assume the charge of the defenses north and south of the Potomac in the vicinity of Washington.
The limits of his command will embrace the District of Columbia, the city of Alexandria, the ground in front of and in the vicinity of the defensive works south of the Potomac from the Occoquan to Difficult Creek, and the post of Fort Washington. He will have charge of the provisional brigades, composed of new troops arriving in Washington, and will exercise supervision over troops in the city.
By command of Major-General McClellan:
RICH'D B. IRWIN,
CAMDEN STATION, March 18, 1862.
(Received 9.10 p.m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
The Harper's Ferry bridge is completed, and an engine has just passed over it from Maryland to Virginia. Our engineer advises that our men have rendered secure three bridges and trestled another on the Winchester road, and that trains will run to Charlestown to-morrow. The work east of Martinsburg and west of Harper's Ferry is progressing rapidly, and within a week we hope to open the entire line. I have pleasure in announcing these facts to you, to whose comprehensive and vigorous arrangements for the protection of the road we are so much indebted for the opportunity of accomplishing this work, of such great importance to the whole country.
J. W. GARRETT,
WINCHESTER, March 19, 1862.
In obedience to instructions from General Williams, commanding General Shields' division moved out yesterday on road to Strasburg. At Middletown, 13 miles, his advance encountered small party of enemy, who fled, and burned behind them the fine bridge across Cedar Creek, 3 miles north of Strasburg. The enemy's force at Cedar Creek consisted of a part of regiment of cavalry, a few hundred infantry, and four field guns. This morning General Shields constructed a temporary bridge across Cedar Creek, and [is] doubtless now in Strasburg, but will proceed no farther. Information this moment received is that Jackson's force, except the party mentioned above, was on Monday night, 17th, 14 miles north of Mount Jackson, where railroad terminates.
D. D. PERKINS,
Chief of Staff, Banks' Division.
[MARCH 19, 1862.-For McClellan's plan of campaign see Series I, Vol. V. p. 57.]