have gathered some facts that may serve to corroborate information in your possession. The gist of the information was about as follows, viz: Harper's Ferry held by not over 2,500 men, including those at Point of Rocks and the outposts; their arms, discipline, &c., bad; no intrenchemnts erected on either side of the river; no guard at Shepherdstown, where there is a good ford and roads leading to Charlestown and Key's Ford. I would suggest a movement in that direction as the readiest method of driving the rebels from Harper's Ferry. You are aware that the structures of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad most liable to injury are west of Cumberland. I beg to call to the attention of the General-in-Chief the importance of occupying Cumberland without delay. I learn that the population there, at Piedmot, Grafton, &c., are loyal. The importance of occupying Cumberland cannot be overestimated. In connection with that movement I propose moving one regiment of State troops to a point near Bellaire, another to a point in the vicinity of Marietta, another to Athenas, another to Jackson, on the Portsmouth Railroad. I wish to keep these away from the frontier, but near enough to produce a certain moral effect. If Cumberland and Hancock can be occupied by the Maryland troops now called out, it would probably be the best arrangement. If this cannot be done, troops might be moved down from Pittsburg, if there are any there disposable. Is it true, as stated in the papers, that Western Pennsylvania and Western Virginai have been added to my department? I have received no notification to that effect.
The Union men of Kentucky express a firm determination to fight it out. Yesterday Garrett Davis told me "we will remain in the Union by voiting if we can, by fighting if we must, and if we cannot hold our own, we will call on the General Government to aid us." He asked me what I would do if they called on me for assistance, and convinced me that the majority were in danger of being overpowered by a better armed minority. I replied that if there were time I would refer to General Scott for orders. If there were not time, that I would cross the Ohio with 20,000 men. If that were not enough with 30,000, and if necessary with 40,000; but that I would not stand by and see the loyal Union men of Kentucky crushed. I have strong hopes that Kentucky will remain in the Union, and the most favorable feature of the whole matter is that the Union men are now ready to abandon the position of "armed neutrality," and to enter heart and soul into the contest by our side. I hope yet to pay a visit to the Honorable Jefferson Davis a Montgomery. I expect the three Randall companies to-morrow, will place them at Camp Dennisson for the present. I hope to receive permission to mout more than one battery. I do not like the idea of being without regular batteries. Is it possible for me to get the First Cavalry and the remaining companies of Second Infantry? We shall need them very much.
With the hope that Cumberland may be promptly occupied, I am, colonel, with great respect, very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
WAR DEPARTMENT, May 17, 1861.
Major General JOHN A. DIX:
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th instant, informing this Department that you have been