General Government in the purchase of such articles as the Regulations authorize as necessary to render the troops efficient, and would ask your earliest attention to this very vital and important subject. A question has arisen in regard to the two Kentucky regiments already mustered into the service at this point. Colonel Terrell states that the understanding in Washington was that they should be mustered in for three years. In the absence of any special instructions they have been mustered in for three months. What are the wishes of the War Department in regard to this point? It has occured to me that if circumstances would permit my absence from this department for a few days after having completed its organizaton, a few hours' personal interview with the lieutenant-general commanding would put me more fully in possession of his wishes and intentions than can be done by letter. If the general concurs in this view, I would be glad to be authorized to repair to Washington, should I deem it safe to leave the department during the period necessary.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, May 21, 1861.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, U. S. Army,
SIR: Considering that Cumberland, in Maryland, is not withing your command, and is under the immediate consideration of Major-General Patterson and the authorities here (all of us men nearer at hand), we are surprised at your repeated admonitions to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War, and myself to occupy that point, and I am still more surprised at your complaint to the Secretary of War against me that you are without instructions or authority and with your hands tied up. In reply, I refer to the communications sent you at the following dates, some of which, at any rate, you have acknowledged:
First. Letter of April 30, on learning you were the major-general of Ohio Volunteers. Second. Copy of letters of commanding officer at Cairo, of May 2, instructing him not to detain provisions. Third. Letter of May 3, giving plan of a campaign. Fourth. Telegram of May 6, in relation to regular officers of your staff. Fifth. Telegram of May 8, order to stop provisions at Cairo, &c. Sixth. Telegramof May 8, in relation to camp at Cairo and intercepting regular companies from Fort Randall. Seventh. Telegram of May 10, in relation to re-enforcing Cairo. Eighth. Copy of letter to Colonel Robert Anderson, May 15, in relation to volunteers in Western Virginia and Kentucky. Ninth. Letter of May 15, sent by Lieutenant L. A. Williams. Tenth. Telegram of May 20, stating that you authority was ample within your military department. Eleventh. General Orders, Nos. 14 and 19, defining the limits of your department, adding thereto Western Pennsylvania and Virginia. Besides which, your communications on the subject of ordnance supplies have been promptly referred to the Ordnance Department and attended to.
It is not conceived what other instructions could have been needed by you. Placed in the command of a wide department, with the quotas of three-months' men under you of several States, it surely was unnecessary to say that you were expected to defend it against all enemies of