be surrounded, but I do not think it can be done on the north side, if you are aware of their movement. A force of militia with some Eastern Virginia troops are said to be at Raleigh Court-House, and are reported to design descending Coal River to stop our steam-boats. I cannot well afford to weaken my force here any more. If you have succeeded in sending any troops in on the south side of the river, a half regiment at Coalsmouth would probably make the line safe from that side. I have not learned whether the Thirteenth or Twenty-third have returned to Summersville as I advisted them. How soon could you reopne communication with me direct, should a large force break through between us and get in my rear? Give me as full instructions as possible In the skirmish with the enemy our men killed five and wounded several. They had three of their own slightly wounded.
J. D. COX,
Annapolis, August 17, 1861.
Honorable SIMON CAMERON,
Secretary of War:
MY DEAR SIR: While you may think me troublesome, you will, I trust, believe my efforts, feeble as they may be, are well designed. You must not suppose me a sensationalist, or that I am alarmed, but attirbute all to an anxious desire to co-operate with you in heading off the rebel forces, who are at this time, in my opinion, contemplaint a descent upon Maryland, with a view to drive her from her position in the Union and carrying us South. That vigilant preparation is being made by the secession forces in Maryland and south of the Potomac I am convinced, and believe the design is a simultaneous rising in Maryland to unite forces from the Confederate army and attack Washington in rear, whilst beauregard attacks on Virginia side. The Eastern Shore counties of Virginia are preparing for the onslaught, I am quit sure, and unless Government troops are sent to the line, and the Chesapeake Bay, bordering on these counties (Accomac and Northampton), by closely watched and guarded, the enemy will come and go to these points at pleasure. Allow me again to call your attention most respectfuly to the propriety, nay, the necessity, or organizing a home brigade for the protection and defense of the Eastern Shore. I have been over to that shore, and spent several days; find many of our men ready to muster into the service of the General Government, and go where and when ordered to defend the Union flag.
My friend Thomas J. Wilson, esq., who will hand you this, and goes over at my request, is a reliable Union man, and if time permit you may talk freely with him, and gain some particulars that I havenot time to give you. Mr. Wilson is the gentlemanI asked you to make a paymaster, but suppose you have been so pressed with other duties as to forget this matter. You need have no misgivings in regard to Wilson. He is intelligent and fully reliable, and I indorse him as such.
We captured two wagons yesterday in Anne Arundel County in transit with contraband articles to Virginia, and an increased force will enable us to do more in that way.
I hope to visit you on tuesday next, and shall be glad to know you have considered well the brigade subject, as Captain Wallace intimates you are doing.