War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0780 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

Search Civil War Official Records


Harper's Ferry, Va., August 12, 1864.

Lieutenant Colonel J. W. FORSYTH,

Chief of Staff, Middle Military Division:

SIR: Your order relating to the repairing of the telegraph line to Martinsburg was received. Men will come from Baltimore to-day to replace the poles,and the wires will be here to-morrow morning. The line will be completed as soon as possible. The timber for the railroad bridge is here, and the bridge will be in working order to-morrow. I shall commence repairing the pontoon bridge to-morrow, and afterward use it only in case of necessity. Would it be advisable to repair the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between here and Hancock? I shall put the railroad between here and Halltown in repair at once, as it will be impossible for the army to draw their supplies from the Ferry proper, on account of the want of room for loading the teams. The train can load at Halltown. Can I be informed of the probable number of horses for which the post quartermaster will be called upon to furnish forage? He is now receiving 5,000 bushels of grain daily, and that number is not sufficient for the calls upon him.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,



BALTIMORE, August 12, 1864.

(Received 12.45 p. m.)


Secretary of War:

Our engineer, who visited Harper's Ferry at 6 last p. m., reports that General Weber is in command there. Pickets have only been sent as far as two miles west of Harper's Ferry, and General Weber stats that the time of his entire force, excepting eighty men, namely, three regiments of 100-days' men, will expire on Monday next, and that he, therefore, will have no power to protect or assist in reopening the road. The time of the chief part of the forces, which consist of 100-days' men, under General Kelley, at Cumberland, also expires in a few days. I have ordered men and materials to the destroyed portions of the road east and west, and the company is prepared to proceed with that rapid reconstructions of the line the moment the requisite military protection is afforded. The force of the enemy is reported to consist only of small banks, moving rapidly from point to point in the country betwixt Harper's ferry and Back Creek. I trust such re-enforcements can be promptly given general Kelley as will restore to the Government and the country at an early period the great advantage of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. I hope General Sheridan will have it in his power to detail at once an effective force for this purpose. General Averell is reported as moving with his cavalry from Cumberland to Harper's Ferry by turnpike, and is expected to arrive at the latter point to-day or to-morrow. If his command or a portion of it could be used to take possession of Martinsburg and protect the neighboring territory the desired objects could be accomplished.