War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0250 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

FREDERICK, MD., May 26, 1862.

(Received 7 p. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I left Harper's Ferry an hour ago to obtain what information I could from Virginia at the Point of Rocks, and to obtain by direct telegraphic communication with Captain Beckwith, assistant commissary of subsistence at Hagerstown, more full particulars as to the state of the enemy's forces than I could obtain at Harper's Ferry. I have this moment (7 o'clock) received the following telegram from him:


P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary of War:

The force opposite Williamsport up to 3 p. m. was not known to be large. I had a messenger as far out as Falling Waters, 5 miles, who brought in 70 head of beef cattle at 1 p. m. I know of no point of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the enemy's possession except Martinsburg. A telegram sent at 2 p. m. to the Secretary of War said: "The enemy is reported to be marching on Harper's Ferry from Winchester." Rumor only has reached me of the strength of the enemy at Martinsburg. That does not make it large. My agent who went to Falling Waters said he saw their pickets there. General Banks is still at Williamsport Ferry. I am going to Williamsport, and will convey any message. It will take two hours to go and come, if I find him the moment of my arrival.


Captain and Assistant Commissary of Subsistence.

The people who have come from the neighborhood of Leesburg and Aldie, in the valley between the Blue Ridge and Catoctin Ranges of mountains, all say the enemy has not made his appearance in the neighborhood of either place nor anywhere in Loudoun County between Snickersville and the Potomac. If the scouts of the enemy should approach the Potomac below Harper's Ferry, I will direct a company of men and a piece of artillery to be placed at the Point of Rocks to guard the ford, to prevent sudden raids of small parties across the river. I shall return to Harper's Ferry immediately.


Assistant Secretary of War.


May 26, 1862- 6.40 a. m.

JOHN W. GARRETT, Esq., Baltimore:

Is there any way to avoid the delay in transportation along the road between here and Harper's Ferry? A regiment is on the cars here and has been waiting for some hours, and is now waiting for the passenger train. We shall have 4,000 ready to be sent from here by noon. All other business on the road should stop, so as to give a clear track and cars for moving the troops. Can you not do this to-day? It is for the interest of your road as well as for the Government, and at the cost of the Government this should be done for the present. I hope you will order it at once. Individual convenience should yield to the urgency of the occasion. Private travelers can wait; so can merchandise. Devote the road entirely, with all its power, to the military operations on hand.