War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0534 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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The Potomac River can only be crossed in its ordinary state of water at some five or six fords, and we propose to enlist from our respective States a volunteer force that shall be sufficient, with the aid of the fortifications which the force itself can speedily construct, to effectually guard them all. We ask of the Government that the recruits so raised shall be credited to the quota of our several States on the call last made, and be armed, equipped, and supplied as other volunteers in the service. We are aware that, as a general rule, founded objections exist to the enlistment of a force to be exclusively used for home or local defense, but we regard such a service as we now suggest as an exceptional case, and the complete protection of this part of our frontier as of admitted national importance. Soon after the outbreak of this rebellion the importance of a special defense of the region bordering on the Upper Potomac was recognized by the Government, and the Honorable Francis Thomas, of Maryland, was authorized by it to raise three regiments with protection of the counties on either side of that river. These regiments were raisequent exigencies of the service required their employment elsewhere, and they therefore afford at present no particular security to that region beyond other troops in the service. The necessity, as we think, for some such peculiar provision has now become so obvious that we would with great respect, but most earnestly, urge upon Your Excellency the expediency set about raising the forces required, and we have no doubt they will be promptly procured.

We have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,



[First indorsement.]

JULY 27, 1864.

Submitted to the Secretary of War.


[Second indorsement.]


July 28, 1864.

The Secretary of War has directed a reference of this communication to Brigadier-General Fry, Provost-Marshal-General.


Colonel and Inspector-General.

[Third indorsement.]


Washington, D. C., July 31, 1864.


Secretary of War:

Respectfully returned.

I think the objections to the proposition within outweigh the advantages like to arise from its adoption. The object proposed is to "effectually guard" the fords on the Potomac River and provide "complete protection to this part of the frontier" against the "repeated raid across the Potomac made by portions of the rebel army." To accomplish it Governors Bradford and Curtin propose to raise a volunteer force from their respective States to fortify and defend five or