Second. I was in constant communication with General Patterson, who knew under what authority I was acting. Fearing for the safety of the forts in Delaware Bay, he asked me, giving his reasons, for authority to place them in charge of Captain A. A. Gibson, Second Artillery, and to garrison them with volunteers. I replied as follows:
HARRISBURG, PA., April 23, 1861.
Lieutenant-General Scott orders you at once to accept the services of a loyal and efficient force, and secure the forts on the Delaware.
F. J. PORTER,
The request and order were carried out by General Patterson.
Third. The officers accompanying Major Thomas were, without exception, Southern men. They were all anxious, excited, in doubt as to what should be their immediate action, and gloomy as to the future. They had their private conferences, and evidently looked to Major Thomas' action as their present guide. I knew Major Thomas' views. I had no doubt of his course. But I did fear that some if not all his subordinates would tender their resignations and ask to be left behind. One officer had done so before leaving Carlisle Barracks, and had gone to his men in Maryland. Just before entering the cars which were about to start, one of them turning to Major Thomas, and in hearing of all the others and of Colonel Porter and myself, asked: "What shall we do?" Promptly came the reply, "We are ordered to Washington, and there we go." There will be time enough after getting there for you do decide what to do." In a few minutes we were in motion for Baltimore. This incident and other events satisfied me that whatever the obstacles we should meet with, these officers would do their full duty so long as in the service, and until officially relieved at Washington. Prior to these companies leaving Carlisle Barracks Lieutenant Jenifer obtained a leave of absence. While peaceably and quietly going to his home he was arrested and imprisoned by some State or city official, on the suspicion of disloyalty and intention to join the insurgents in Baltimore. On Governor Curtin referring the case to me I urged his release, on the ground that there was no justification of the arrest. In consequence of the almost total absence at Harrisburg of arms, ammunition, and all ordnance and quartermaster's equipment and commissary stores, I felt compelled, in the absence of all officers of these departments, and in the interests of the military service, and on account of the great stake at risk (the safety at Washington), to assume authority and give extraordinar name of the Secretary of War or of the General-in-Chief, to the commanders of the arsenals at Pittsburg, Frankford, and Governor's Island, to quartermasters and commissaries at Philadelphia, to assign officers of experience to duty, and to authorize feeding of troops at hotels. I trust these assumptions of authority, involving extraordinary expense in some cases, will be sanctioned. If I erred in judgment I hope the object to be accomplished will prove my justification. As an earnest evidence of my efforts I will merely add that I left Washington totally unprepared for so long a stay, and so fully occupied was I that I had to take my meals as chance offered, and night and day my time was given to the service for which I was sent.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. J. PORTER,