I moved the left flank to within a mile of Hampton and there a late copy of a Northern paper, the Tribune, containing an official report of General Butler, commanding at Old Point, to the Federal Secretary of War was placed in my hands. I have not the report with me but will forward it by the next mail. In it General Butler announces what his intentions are in respect to Hampton, about one-third of which, however, had been burned by the enemy when they evacuated it. He states in substance that this evacuation was the consequence of the withdrawal of 4,000 of his best troops to go to Washington; that he intended to fortify and make it so strong as to be easily defended by a small number of troops that he did not know what to do with the many negroes in his possession unless he possessed Hampton; that they were still coming in rapidly; that as their masters had deserted their homes and slaves he should consider the latter free and would colonize them at Hampton, the home of most of their owners, where the women could support themselves by attending to the clothes of the soldiers and the men by working on the fortifications of the town.
Having known for some time past that Hampton was the harbor of runaway slaves and traitors, and being under the guns of Fort Monroe it could not be held by us even if taken I was decidedly under the impression that it should have been destroyed before; and when I found from the above report its extreme importance to the enemy and that the town itself would lend great strength to whatever fortifications they might erect around it I determined to burn it at once.
* * * *
I am, general, very respectfully, &c.,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS CITY GUARD,
Washington, August 10, 1861.
Captain H. DAVIDSON,
Commanding Guard, Railroad Depot.
SIR: It is directed by the provost-marshal that you permit no soldiers to leave this city by the railroad who are unable to show that they have been properly discharged from the service of the United States; also that no negroes without sufficient evidence of their being free or of their right to travel are permitted to leave the city upon the cars.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. AVERELL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Baltimore, Md., August 21, 1861.
Major General G. B. MCCLELLAN,
Commanding Division of the Potomac.
GENERAL: Early this month Captain Nones, commanding the revenue cutter Forward, whom I placed at the mouth of the Severn at Annapolis with his vessel and the small tender to break up the illicit trade ascertained to be carried on between that river and Virginia by way of the Patuxent, captured three negro men going in by a canoe. I wrote to Colonel Roberts, of the First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers,