Feeling it to be the duty of the General Government to afford full protection to the people of Pennsylvania and Maryland by the defense of the line of the Potomac, I united with Governor Bradford in the following letter to the President, dated July 21, 1864:
STATE OF MARYLAND, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Annapolis, July 21, 1864.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
SIR: The repeated raids across the Potomac River made by portions of the rebel army, and the extent of the damage they have succeeded so frequently in inflicting, have most injuriously affected the people of Maryland and Pennsylvania in the neighborhood of that river, and many of them, it is believed, as the only security against such losses in the future, are seriously considering the propriety of abandoning their present homes and seeking safety at the north.
It seems to us that nor merely in this sectional aspect of the case, but in its rebellious States is an object justifying and requiring a disposition of a portion of the national force with an especial view to its defense. The Potomac River can only be crossed, in its ordinary state of water, at some five or six fords, and we propose to enlist from our respective States a volunteer force that shall be sufficient, with the aid of the fortifications which the force itself can speedily construct, to effectually guard them all. We ask of the Government that the recruits so raised shall be credited to the quotas of our several States, on the call last made, and be armed, equipped, and supplied as other volunteers in the service.
We are aware that, as a general rule, well-founded objections exist to the enlistment of a force to be exclusively used for home or local defense; but we regard such a service as we now suggest as an exceptional case, and the complete protection of this part of our frontier as of admitted national importance.
Soon after the outbreak of this rebellion the importance of a special defense of the region bordering on the upper Potomac was recognized by the Government, and the Honorable Francis Thomas, of Maryland, was authorized by it to raise three regiments with a view to the protection of the counties on either side of that river. These regiments were raised, but the subsequent exigencies of the service required their employment elsewhere, and they therefore afford at present no particular security to that region beyond other troops in the service.
The necessity, as we think, for some peculiar provision has now become so obvious that we would with great respect, but most earnestly, urge upon Your Excellency the expediency of acceding to the suggestions we have made, and we will immediately set about raising the forces required, and we have no doubt they will be promptly procured.
We have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servants,
A. W. BRADFORD.
A. G. CURTIN.
The following letter from the assistant adjutant-general, dated August 1, A. D. 1864, is the only reply received by me up to his time:
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., August 1, 1864.
HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA,
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the joint letter from yourself and the Governor of Maryland, dated July 21, 1864, asking authority to raise a volunteer force in your respective States, to be exclusively used for home of local defense and for guarding the firs of the Potomac.
In reply I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you that the proposition has been fully considered and that the authority asked for cannot be granted.
In this connection pleas esse the act of Congress approved February 13, 1862, as promulgated in General Orders, No. 15, series of 1862, from this office.
I have the honor to remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOMAS M. VINCENT,
MEMORANDUM.-Similar letter sent His Excellency the Governor of Maryland this date.
How the reason given for the refusal to act on this proposition can be made consistent with the enlisted of men for 100 days, to serve