HEADQUARTERS BLENKER'S DIVISION, Paris, Va., April 13, 1862.
Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Since I left Hunter's Chapel with my division on the 10th of March it was my firm resolution to fulfill to the letter the instructions contained in the different general orders to carry on the war with the greatest humanity and to keep up and unrelenting discipline. When my division stood under the orders of General Sumner of the march from Fairfax Court-House to Warrenton Junction, some cases of depredations occurred in my division as well as in that of General Richardson. I do not mean to excuse them, but state only that their aim was either to supply a certain want of victuals which ten took place in consequence of the bad roads or a want of horses, which was left pretty generally. As far as my division is concerned, I ordered a court of inquiry and urged the provost-marshal to make use of the power conferred upon him in the most stringent manner. While the division was waiting in Warrenton Junction for orders the quartermaster of the Eighth New York State Volunteers, Lieutenant Neustader, and several persons with him, were made prisoners by the rebels between Manassas and Warrenton.
Sunday, the 6th of April, I left Warrenton Junction with my division and arrived at Warrenton in the afternoon. Before entering the town I met with an accident, my horse overthrowing itself on a sudden elevation of the ground. This occurrence caused me a great deal of suffering, notwithstanding which I have led the division on horseback up to the place where we are now stationed and attended to my duties the same as before. The division bivouacked out of town. The discipline kept up was so perfect that the inhabitants expressed their thankfulness in the most unequivocal manner, but it became clear to me and to all officers of my division that no Union sentiment could be found. Not one person, man, woman, or child, dared to avow such a sentiment publicly, while they gave us to understand quite palpably that their sympathy was with their State against the North, and with the Confederate Army against ours. While we were marching from Warrenton to Salem a snow-storm overtook us and continued from Monday afternoon till Wednesday morning, covering the country around with nearly one foot of snow and causing the roads to be impracticable when the snow began to melt. It Salem we made the same observation as regards the political sympathies of the inhabitants made before in Warrenton. No kind acclamations received us. No word, even in private, was spoken that showed any sympathy with the Union. Many houses had been left tenantless. Those dwellings whose residents had remained were opened to us with politences, but with the understanding that it was done not for the sake of political sympathy, but for the sake of protection. I subjoin a report* of the commander of my brigade escort, which will exemplify this statement.
Friday, the 11th instant, we left Salem and reached Paris. There we found matters in the same state, only the colored people seemed to be joyful at our coming. They flocked to our bivouac, welcomed us, and offered their services, but not a single white man did the same in these regions. We had several difficulties to overcome. The great number of creeks swollen by the rains were sometimes to be forded, sometimes to be passed in single files, over improvised bridges, and here we find