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WINCHESTER, October 31, 1861. General COOPER :
Referring to my letter of the 28th instant you will perceive that personal considerations should restrain me from undertaking to give you a detailed account of the affair at Romney on the 26th instant. Duty, however, compels me to report the present condition of my command. The companies of Captains Jordan, Myers, and Harper have been ordered to post themselves at Cacapon Bridge, 23 miles east of Romney. The companies of Captains Bowen, Sheetz, and Shands have been ordered to post themselves at the Hanging Rock Pass, 16 miles east of Romney, on the Northwestern turnpike. This division of the mounted force of my command has been made owing to the impossibility of obtaining quarters for all of them at any one point.
The artillery sent me has been received, but neither ammunition nor harness accompanied it.
I have delayed in Winchester thus long in order that I might have the better opportunity of again supplying iny command with the equipments, arms, ammunition, baggage, &c., now so much needed by them. I shall leave to-morrow for the Hanging Rock Pass above mentioned.
I herewith inclose you a copy of a letter received by me from a reliable source, together with the indorsement upon it.* I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ANGUS W. MCDONALD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade, C. 8. Army.
RICHMOND, October 31, 1861. His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES:
SIR: I take the liberty of calling your attention to the exposed con. dition of Hampshire, Hardy, and the neighboring counties of this State, and to submit in the concisest terms some suggestions relative to the subject. I beg to premise by reminding you that the counties referred to, now more or less subjected to the ravages of the enemy, are stocked with every variety of farming product, liable to be destroyed or taken at any moment, which promptness on our part may rescue and secure, and render available for our own purposes. We have, as you are aware, recent accounts, which lead to the apprehension that Romney is now occupied by the enemy in force, about 2,000 strong. If energetic steps are taken before they have time to intrench themselves, they can be easily dislodged and driven beyond the limits of the State. The force already organized under Colonel McDonald and the militia of Hampshire and Hardy, if at once concentrated and led by an active and resolute man, would be fully competent to effect this. Of the large number who have flocked to our standard from Maryland, said to reach from 8,000 to 10,000 men, if but 2,000 could be employed for the purpose they could unquestionably take Cumberland. Holding this point, and cooperating with the forces in the counties spoken of, they could meet the enemy at every point, and effectually protect that portion of Virginia.
The advantages of holding Cumberland, I would respectfully submit, would be very important to the Southern cause. I beg very briefly to refer to some of them. Cumberland is now the eastern terininus of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The enemy use the facilities it furnishes for assembling their forces and making their preparations for their frequent raids into Virginia. To take it would be to break up their stronghold for this purpose. By taking that place we also break up the line of communication between the eastern and western forces of the enemy. We also destroy the trade of Wheeling, the market for whose manufactured and other products is Baltimore. In addition, we would control the navigation of the Ohio and Potomac Canal, and cnt off Washington and Alexandria not only from their supply of coal, but also of hay, oats, and fodder for their horses, of which they are now particularly in need since the interruption to the navigation of the Potomac.
Again, the possession of Cumberland might be regarded as the initial step towards obtaining the mastery over the railroad between that point and Wheeling, whether for our own use or for purposes of destrnction. I would further suggest that, supposing Cumberland in our hands, it would be the great rallying point of the secession citizens of Maryland, now so harassed and oppressed, and here might be inaugurated the revolution destined to restore that gallant State to liberty. At all events, in this view the moral effects would be most auspicious. Mary. land would regard the event as an earnest of future aid, and it would spread hope and encouragement far and wide within her borders.
The troops now in Cumberland amount, I am informed, to a full regiment of the Home Guard and a company of cavalry of 180 men. They are part of the forces raised by the authority of the United States Congress under the auspices of Ex-Governor Frank Thomas. The regiment, I know from personal observation, consists mostly of the very refuse of society, and is badly disciplined and officered. A sudden descent of a force of half their number would scatter them to the winds. Nothing could be easier than the surprise and capture of the place.
I am informed by competent engineers that it could be maile defensible by but a small body of men. Respectfully,
C. H. McBLAIR,
Abstract from return of the Army of the Potomac, General Joseph E. Johnston, C. S. Army,
commanding, for the month of October, 18ol.
Abstract from return of Aquia District, commanded by Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes, for Oc
Abstract from return of the Army of the Northwest, Brig. Gen. W. W. Loring, C. S. Army,
commanding, for the month of October, 1861.
Abstract from return of the Sixteenth Brigade, Virginia Militia, Army of the Valley, com
manded by Brig. Gen. James H. Carson, for October, 1861.
Thirty-first Regiment Virginia Militia, Col. R. F. Raldwin..
Centreville, November 2, 1861. General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General :
SIR: About the middle of October I was visited at Fairfax CourtHouse by a Mr. Hunter, who had entered into an engagement with the War Department to provide materials for and otherwise aid in the construction of huts for winter quarters. He expected, I understood, to have his saw-mills in operation in this vicinity within ten days from that time. I have not heard of him since that interview. As time is very important in the matter of erecting winter quarters, I respectfully ask that Mr. Hunter be requested to commence his operations without delay. I do not know his address. Your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
Centreville, November 2, 1861. General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General :
SIR: Brigadier-General Carson, now commanding in the valley of the Shenandoah, reports a force under his command of 900 infantry (militia) and the same number of cavalry, including McDonald's regiment. pears, therefore, that more than half the militia left in service at Win. chester by me have been either discharged or permitted to stay at home. From the latest intelligence from that country I am inclined to think that it may be expedient to send Major-General Jackson to his district. Brigadier-General Carson reports that he has called out three regiments of infantry (militia) from the counties on the southwest of Winchester. I am told by a gentleman just from Winchester that he is sending flintlock muskets to Richmond to be altered. If he does or has done so, I respectfully ask that they be sent immediately back. I suppose that no other troops than militia can be furnished to General Jackson. If so, I beg that measures may be taken by the War Departinent to call out several thousand more without delay. I cannot, because without in. formation as to the counties which should be called upon or the arms which can be supplied.
It is reported that the enemy intend to repair the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and put it in operation. It is of great importance to us to prevent it. For this I will send General Jackson to his district whenever there is prospect of having such a force as will enable him to render service.
General Carson reports the enemy's force in Romney to be from 2,500 to 5,000. It is said also that General Loring has no enemy near him. If so, might he not drive off this party and move into the valley. Your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF POTOMAC,
Union Mills, Va., November 2, 1861. Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: Your letter of the 31st ultimo, in regard to the objections made by General Johnston to the reorganization of my division, has just been received.
In reply I have the honor to say that I consider the objections of General Johnston well founded, and that I shall be glad to have the change made which he proposes. These objections occurred to me after considering the matter and after examining the field of operations in front of us, and I should have suggested the same change, except that I had some hesitation in making propositions so soon after entering a protest against his assignment of me to a command which I considered inadequate to my rank.
If you will allow me to suggest, I would be glad to have the Texas troops assigned to my division in addition to the Mississippians, and such other troops as you may see fit to give me, as I have been identified with the people of that State for several years, and I believe it would be somewhat conducive to the interest of the service if I were placed in command of her troops.
Thanking the President and you, sir, for the consideration you have shown me, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EARL VAN DORN, Major-General of Division.
RICHMOND, November 2, 1861. General W. W. LORING, Huntersville, Va.:
It is not intended to retain in the mountains for the winter more than the 4,500 men necessary to guard the passes. Instructions will be sent in a day or two for the disposal of the remainder of your forces. *
J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War.
SPECIAO. ORDERS; }
ADJT. AND INSP. GEN.'S OFFICE,
Richmond, November 2, 1861.
XII. Brig. Gen. Richard Griffith, Provisional Army, will report to General J. Ě. Johnston for duty with the brigade lately commanded by Brig. Gen. Charles Clark, Provisional Army.
By command of the Secretary of War:
JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.
} No. 480.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CORPS, A. P.,
Near Centreville, November 2, 1861. The following disposition of officers and troops will take effect immediately, namely:
I. Brig. Gen. Charles Clark will turn over the command of the Fourth Brigade to the senior colonel; then repair to Leesburg, Va., and assume command of the Seventh Brigade, relieving Brig. Gen. N. G. Evans, who will report in person at these headquarters. Brigadier-General Clark will report in person to the cominanding general of the Army of the Potomac for special instructions. II. Brigadier-General Ewell will turn over the command of the Sec
See inclosure to Cooper to Floyd, November 5, p. 938.