HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DISTRICT OF HARPER'S FERRY,
Harper's Ferry, W. Va., August 15, 1864.
Chief of Staff, Middle Military Division:
SIR: Your dispatches regarding General Duffie and the bridges were received yesterday and answered. I shall answer all such twice, in case one may be captured. The railroad bridge is completed. Wagons are crossing to-day. The new pontoon bridge from Washington will be ready in two days, if the expected lumber comes up. General Duffie must have joined you. General Averell is at Martinsburg; will be inspected to-morrow by Captain Sumner. Men are at work on the railroad between here and Martinsburg; it will be repaired this week. I must consequently furnish troops to occupy Martinsburg and the different stations between here and Hancock. My infantry force consists of two volunteer regiments and three Ohio 100 days' men. The two volunteer regiments are between here and Frederick, but as it is sufficient to have one regiment on that line I have concentrated the other, and shall move it to Martinsburg if necessary. The three Ohio regiments are not needed on Maryland Heights, and they could e used for guarding the [railroad], did not their time expire this week. Four regiments are needed on the line of the railroad-two in Martinsburg, one between here and Martinsburg, one between Martinsburg and Hancock. As the time of these Ohio regiments is so nearly out, I am anxiously awaiting orders regarding this matter from the general commanding, and as to whether I shall let them go or not at the expiration of their time of service. The distance between Harper's Ferry and the headquarters of the Middle Military Division is now so great that it is difficult to forward dispatches from here with the necessary speed. Can stations be established along the road for the purpose of forwarding with more speed and greater security? I have less than 100 cavalry for all duty, including that of couriers. Can the general commanding spare some hundred or more to report to me for duty, my force wholly inadequate for the calls upon them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CUMBERLAND, August 15, 1864.
Captain P. G. BIER,
Your telegram of yesterday in regard to stragglers received. The number I have here is 1,200, mostly from your command. Not one out of the whole number is armed. I have no arms here to arm. The railroad is now repaired and working to Martinsburg. Shall I send them? They can be armed, I presume, at Harper's Ferry. I am extremely anxious to get rid of them. They are a great troublesome, worthless party. I am having complete roll made of them and will forward by mail. You can communicate any orders now via Martinsburg. Telegraph is working to that point.
B. F. KELLEY,