Brig. Gen. Philip St. George Cocke to Col. Robert S. Garnett, on Troop Strength

25 11 2020



O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 818-819

Headquarters Potomac Department,
Culpeper Court-House, Va., May 8, 1861.

Col. R. S. Garnett:

Your order of May 7, this moment received, stating that “The general in command is in want of information from you as to the strength and organization of your command, and begs that you will supply him with it at the earliest possible moment. The return due on the 1st instant by General Orders, No. 4, has not been received. The general desires particularly to know with what force you can take the field, provided any movement is made against you from Washington; how it would be composed, officered, and what service could be counted on from it.” I have to say in reply that, coming to this command with “naked hands” and in my plantation dress, arriving in Alexandria on the morning of the 22d of April, I have had everything to do towards organization, with extremely limited means of accomplishing anything. It has been entirely impracticable, in consequence of the want of my proper staff, until very recently, to initiate the means of obtaining the regular, formal, and full company returns and other returns which would show the strength and organization of the weak, unorganized, and widely-scattered force under my command.

The assistant adjutant-general, since his appointment and entrance upon duty, has taken the most active steps to accomplish the objects desired by the commanding general. Those steps will be persevered in. Such partial returns as I have been able to obtain from time to time from captains, both in regard to number of men, arms, and ammunition, and general equipment, have been forwarded to the headquarters at Richmond, and will be found on file there.

The assistant adjutant-general, Jones, has this morning left me, by my order, under the pressing emergency of sending the only experienced officer of the army at my command to march with the Powhatan troop this moment en route for Manassas Junction, to assist in collecting, establishing, and organizing at that point the force that I may be able to command, to carry into effect the order of the general-in-chief, received yesterday, to occupy and hold that point against any probable attack of the enemy. I propose to follow myself to-morrow with such other forces as I can gather, going “by rail” to the same point, and thus to effect a contemporaneous arrival at Manassas Junction. This necessary absence of the assistant adjutant-general from these headquarters, together with the yet unorganized state of the general staff and the inexperience of many of the captains of many of the companies, will yet cause some delay in making regular army returns.

I beg, however, that the general-in-chief will have collated from my dispatches and reports from the beginning the information therein imparted in this connection, and which may thus furnish him with an approximate estimate and exhibit at least of the available forces heretofore and now at my command.

In order to facilitate the accomplishment of this object, I will here briefly indicate from the best sources I possess the present character and disposition of what available force I have. (See statement inclosed.)

Very respectfully,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Potomac Department.


Headquarters Potomac Department,
Culpeper Court-House, May 8,1861.

Company E, Sixth Battalion, Capt. S. H. Devaughn, 100 men in all, 50 muskets, .58 caliber; no ammunition.

Company H, Sixth Battalion, Capt. M. Marye, 69 men in all, 50 muskets, .58 caliber; no ammunition; in Alexandria now.

Company G, Sixth Battalion, Lieut. A. Herbert, 88 men in all, 51 muskets, .69 caliber; no ammunition; in Alexandria now.

Company, Fairfax Rifles, W. H. Dulany, captain, 51 men armed, and have 940 cartridges; Fairfax Station.

Company, Washington Volunteers, Captain Sherman, 113 men, unarmed and ununiformed; no ammunition; here.

Company, Richardson Guards, Capt. J. Welsh, 80 men, 1,000 caps and cartridges and equipments; Madison Court-House.

Company, Home Guards, J. Latouche, 100 men, flint-lock muskets, caliber .69; in Alexandria; no equipments or ammunition.

Two companies, Irish, now at Manassas Junction, with altered muskets; no equipments or ammunition.

Company, Captain Porter, now here, 71 men, unarmed and unequipped; no ammunition.

Company, artillery, Capt. Del. Kemper, 86 men, 4 brass 6-pounders, 35 sabers, 67 rounds fixed ammunition, and 25 loose ball; now here; part leave to-morrow for Manassas.

Company, Powell’s troop of cavalry, in Alexandria, 53 men.

Company, J. Shac Green, troop of cavalry, in Amissville, 61 men; will be at Manassas to-morrow.

Company, M. Dulany Ball, troop of cavalry, equipped; now in Alexandria.

Company, W. H. Payne, troop of cavalry; now in Warrenton, holding public property.

Company, John F. Lay, troop of cavalry; left for Manassas Junction to-day; well equipped with ammunition; several have no uniform or pistols.

Two companies in Charlottesville not yet reported.

Brigadier- General, Commanding.


Assistant Adjutant General David R. Jones

S. H. Devaughan – Co. E, 17th VA Infantry

Morton Marye – Co. A, 17th VA Infantry

A. Herbert – Co. H, 17th VA Infantry

W. H. Dulany – Co. D, 17th VA Infantry

Charles K. Sherman – Co. E, 1st VA Infantry (thanks J. Soffe)

J. Welsh – Co. A, 7th VA Infantry (thanks J. Soffe)

J. Latouche – Alexandria Home Guards (thanks J. Soffe)

J. C. Porter – Co. C, 7th VA Infantry (thanks J. Soffe)

Deleware Kemper – Alexandria Light Artillery

E. B. Powell – Fairfax Cavalry, Radford’s Troop, 30th VA Cavalry

John Shackleford Green – Co. B, 6th VA Cavalry

Mottram Dulany Ball – Border Guards/Fairfax Cavalry. Captured 5/24/61 at Alexandria. Paroled and served as scout for G. T. Beauregard prior to exchange. Exchanged 9/21/1862. Later Lt. Col. of 11th VA Cavalry Reported as captured at Alexandria with his troop on May 28, 1861. (thanks J. Soffe)

William H. Payne – Black Horse Troop, Munford’s Battalion, 30th VA Cavalry

John F. Lay – Powhatan Troop, G. T. Beauregard’s Escort



2 responses

26 11 2020
Jonathan Soffe

Powell’s Fairfax Cavalry were also called Washington’s Mounted Guards


26 11 2020
Jonathan Soffe

Edit – Washington’s Home Guards


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