Central Railroad. Telegraphic communication was frequently interrupted so I could get no information as to the source of the orders or the name of their bearer, other than that the orders were from Washington and peremptory. So little faith did I put in the messages that I resisted in every possible way the execution of the order, hoping that daybreak would correct the error, if one there was, and enable us to move to our destination. My numerous dispatches evidence my determination that the troops should not return to York until I had positive evidence of the order. The railroad officials refused to move us on prior to knowing the track was clear. Daylight came, and with it the returning troops and the following orders:
Washington, April 21, 1861.
The President with a desire to gratify the mayor of Baltimore, who fears that bloodshed would necessarily result from the passage that city of the troops from Pennsylvania at this moment on the way, directs that they shall return to York, in Pennsylvania. This order refers to the troops now said to be at Cockeysville, Md., en route for this city. It will be obeyed by the officers in command, who will take care to leave force sufficient along the road to keep it safe from depredation of every kind and within his entire control.
Secretary of War.
THE OFFICER IN COMMAND OF THE U. S. TROOPS NOW ON THE WAY FROM HARRISBURG TO BALTIMORE.
ORDERS.] HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, April 21, 1861
It is understood that a body of volunteerse approaching this city has reached Cockeysville or other points within seventeen or twenty miles by rail of Baltimore. The obstructions in the railroads within Baltimore and its neighborhood and still more the unhappy excitement temporarily existing in that city, have induced the President (to avoid collision and bloodshed) to direct that those volunteers return to Harrisburg and take the route via Susquehanna, thence to embark in steamers for A proceed down the Delaware and through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in sufficient tugs or other crafts to Annapolis, as Major-General Patterson shall direct. Major Belger, assistant quartermaster, will convey this written order to the commander of the volunteers in question, and if necessary, accompany them to Philadelphia and beyond in order to facilitate this movement. He will also leave directions at Harrisburg to prevent volunteers from approaching Washington through Baltimore until further orders.
Since writing the within order it has been changed by the lieutenant-general, by the directions of the President. I now add that I direct the railroad to be kept open at all hazards so as to give to the United States the power to send troops or munitions if the necessity for bringing them by that route shall occur by failure or inability of the mayor of Baltimore to keep his faith with the President.
Secretary of War.
I at once saw that a great mistake had been committed in bringing all the troops back to York. I said so to Major Belger, but he insisted that he had carried out his latest orders and his understanding with the Secretary of War. As the troops withdrew from Cockeysville the incendiaries followed and destroyed other bridges in Maryland. My mission was at an end. Major Belger was my superior and had orders to accompany the troops. The little time I had I devoted to taking care of the troops, so far as loding and provisions were necessary and keeping them under control. After seeing thus to their comfort I returned to Harrisburg, and as soon as possible that afternoon I reported in person to General Patterson in this city and fully posted him as to the state of affairs on the Northern Central Railroad. I