OCTOBER 2, 1862.
Send copy to Mr. Garrett, saying that a telegram from William Prescott Smith, desiring a quartermaster to be stationed at Sandy Hook, was referred to General Ingalls, chief quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac, for such action as may be proper.
The Quartermaster-General cannot supply captains of the Quartermaster's Department for every post where they might be desirable.
M. C. MEIGS.
HEADQUARTERS RAILROAD DISTRICT,
New Creek, Va., September 30, 1862.
Colonel R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff, Hdqrs. Army of Potomac, Harper's Ferry, Va.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of to-day,* and fearing that the telegram of Colonel McReynolds may have caused the commanding general to misapprehend my action, I respectfully ask to submit the following statement of facts:
I certainly did not expect or desire to assume command of Colonel McReynolds' forces without orders. I have been anxious to attack and rout Colonel Imboden, who was encamped near Moorefield, Hardy County, with some 700 or 800 mounted Partisan Rangers; but having only three companies of cavalry at my command, and it being impracticable to operate with infantry, my force was too small to accomplish it. It was suggested to Colonel McReynolds that, if it did not conflict with his orders, he should go up to Moorefield and rout Imboden, and that, to assist him, I would furnish him with my three companies of cavalry and one section of a battery; to which proposition he acceded. It was then arranged that Colonel McReynolds should move from Cumberland, Md., one of my detachments from New Creek, and one from Green Spring, each detachment to arrive at the junction of the Moorefield and Romney road at 4 o'clock on Saturday, p.m. 27th, and the body to move from there when it would become dark, and attack enemy at daylight Sunday morning. Colonel McReynolds, however, did not arrive with his advance until 11 o'clock at night, and consequently it was impossible for the expedition to arrive at Moorefield at the designated time. Messengers were sent back advising me that Colonel McReynolds had determined to wait until Sunday evening before moving forward; but in the mean time I had received a telegram advising me of the movement of the enemy from Martinsburg, with a large force of cavalry and artillery, toward Romney, and being satisfied that the rebels, under Colonel Imboden, were fully advised in regard to our approaching force, I dispatched, by messenger, the order, a copy of which is herewith forwarded. This order was handed to Colonel McReynolds, while yet at the junction, at 7.30 o'clock in the evening. It will, I hope, be readily perceived that this order was the result of a belief, well founded, that the expedition would result in a failure, so far as the capture of the rebel force was concerned, as well as of an apprehension for the safety of the command. I further trust that when the commanding general is made acquainted with all the facts and circumstances, my action in the premises will not be disapproved.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. F. KELLEY,
*Of September 29. See p. 369.