McDowell is Informed of Patterson’s Delay in Proposed Movement

14 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 690

Washington, June 15,1861.

General McDowell, Arlington: General Scott says, whether Harper’s Perry is evacuated or not, General Patterson cannot cross the river before Wednesday next [19th]. This in reference to a proposed movement of yours, on the expediency of which events must now decide.

E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General.





McDowell Reports on Progress of Defenses of Washington

13 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 683

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 14, 1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters of the Army:

Colonel: I have received a letter from Maj. J. G. Barnard, Engineer, making suggestions concerning the defenses thrown up on this side of the Potomac. I have attended to these so far as my resources enabled me. Speaking of the work on Shooter’s Hill, he says:

Having to use heavy guns on sea-coast carriages for this as well as for other works in progress, it will require at least a week, probably more, before such guns can he mounted; but there will also he eight field-guns (part of them rifled) in the armament. These could be put in position in a couple of days, but they should not be sent to the work until the matter of a guard or garrison is attended to and artillerists provided for them.

* * * * * * *

With reference to the tete-de-pont at Long Bridge, he adds:

Arrangements must be made for moving and working these guns (twenty-three in all). The same may be said of the tete-de-pont at the Aqueduct.

I have made the above extracts for the purpose of saying that I am unable to comply with so much as relates to providing artillerists for manning these works.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.





Samuel Heintzelman Reports Enemy Strength Around Manassas

12 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 666

ARLINGTON, June 5,1861.

Lieutenant-Colonel Townsend : The following information is respectfully forwarded.

General McDowell is temporarily absent. JAMES B. FRY, A. A. G.

Alexandria, June 5,1861.

Capt. J. B. Fry, Arlington :

I have it from a most reliable source that there are 20,000 men at Manassas Junction, Lee’s Station, Fairfax Court-House, and Centreville. Persons from there are instructed to say that there is a much smaller force there. General Beauregard arrived at Manassas junction on Friday last.

General Lee has returned to Richmond.

S. P. HEINTZELMAN.





McDowell’s Estimate of Required Force for Proposed Movement

10 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 664-665

Hdqrs. Department N. E. Virginia,
Arlington, June 4,1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend, Asst. Adjt. Gen.,
Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C.:

Colonel : I have the honor to report as follows, in compliance with your telegram of the 3d instant requiring me to submit “an estimate of the number and composition of a column to be pushed towards Manassas Junction, and perhaps the gap, say in four or five days, to favor Patterson’s attack on Harper’s Ferry.”

In view of the number of the enemy supposed to be at Manassas Junction, at Centreville, Fairfax Station, Fairfax Court-House, and other places this side of Manassas, and of that at places beyond Manassas, but within a few hours of it by rail, and of the possibility of troops coming from the valley through the gap, I think the actual entire force at the head of the column should, for the purpose of carrying the position at Manassas and of occupying both the road to Culpeper and the one to the gap, be as much as 12,000 infantry, two batteries of regular artillery, and from six to eight companies of cavalry, with an available reserve ready to move forward from Alexandria by rail of 5,000 infantry and one heavy field battery, rifled if possible; these numbers to be increased or diminished as events may indicate. I propose that this force, composed mostly of new troops, shall be organized into field brigades, under active and experienced colonels of the Army, whilst their regiments are being recruited, aided by a few regular officers. This is made the more necessary from the fact that the presence on this side of some corps indifferently commanded has led to numerous acts of petty depredations, pillage, &c., which have exasperated the inhabitants and chilled the hopes of the Union men, and show that these regiments should all of them be restrained as well as led; and where, as is the case with many, they are not so by their officers, they must have some one immediately over them who can and will. I do not propose to have a supply train of wagons for the main body, but to use the railroad, which makes it necessary that every bridge or other important point be guarded, and have either a block-house or field-work. This will require several Engineer officers, and a full supply of intrenching tools, axes, &c.

I have now, perhaps, done all that the General-in-Chief desires of me, but I will take the liberty of adding a few remarks, if not even some suggestions. As soon as we commence to move they will do the same, and as their communications with their position at Harper’s Ferry, which they evidently cherish, will be threatened, they will do as they did when we first came over—hurry forward from all the stations at the South—and the question arises as to the best point or line it is advisable to hold, even for defensive purposes. This, it seems to me, is the line of the Rappahannock, which, if occupied in force, will effectually free all Northeastern Virginia, without coming in contact with the inhabitants, and also free the Potomac. It will be necessary to hold the Aquia Creek Railroad, which, if done in large numbers, would make a powerful diversion in General Butler’s favor. It is true the foregoing is not directly in answer to the question of the General-in-Chief, but I think it flows from it. In relation to the number of troops to be used, I have only to say—what, perhaps, is evident enough, however—that in proportion to the numbers used will be the lives saved; and as we have such numbers pressing to be allowed to serve, might it not be well to overwhelm and conquer as much by the show of force as by the use of it?

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, colonel, your most obedient servant,

Irvin McDowell,
Brigadier- General, Commanding.





U. S. Army HQ Requests Estimate of Force Required by McDowell

9 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 662

Headquarters, June 3, 1861.

General McDowell,
Commanding, &c., Arlington:

General Scott desires you to submit an estimate of the number and composition of a column to be xmshed towards Manassas Junction, and perhaps the gap, say in four or five days, to favor Patterson’s attack on Harper’s Ferry.

The rumor is that Arlington Heights will be attacked to-night.

E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General.





Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell Reports Outrages

7 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 654-655

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
May 29,1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Army, Washington, D. C.:

Colonel: There have been rumors of outrages committed by volunteers in Alexandria. Colonel Butterfield, of the Twelfth New York, has reported several cases of trespass, depredations, and attempts at burglary in his vicinity.

I am aware we are not, theoretically speaking, at war with the State of Virginia, and we are not, here, in an enemy’s country; but if the ordinary courts and officers of the State, against whose peace and dignity it is these acts have been committed, are not in the exercise of their functions, shall not these cases be punished, as similar ones were in Mexico, by military commission? It is a question of policy which, being so near at hand, I beg to submit to the General-in-Chief.

In connection with this subject I will mention that the battalion of Georgetown Volunteers at the head of the Chain Bridge are reported as acting harshly towards the inhabitants on this side, whom they charge with being secessionists; that, coming themselves from so near their present station, they have stronger personal feelings in this matter and are more liable to be influenced by them than troops coming from a distance. The plea that a man is a secessionist is set up in some cases by persons depredating on property as a justification of their acts.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier- General, Commanding.





Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell Assumes Command of Department of Northeastern Virginia

6 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 653-654

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, May 29, 1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington, D. C.:

Colonel : I arrived here too late in the afternoon of the 27th to assume on that day formally, in orders, the command of the department, but I reported to Major-General Sandford at this place, and received from him such information as to the state of affairs as he was able then to give me. I encamped the night of the 27th with the New Jersey brigade, and early on the morning of the 28th went to Alexandria, and was occupied from 5 a. m. till 9 o’clock at night in examining the position occupied by the troops and looking into the condition of the men.

Defensive works under construction. – The works at Alexandria had not been commenced nor even laid out as late as 10 o’clock a. m. yesterday, nor had the plans been definitely determined upon. A want of tools in the first place, and in the second place of means of transportation for the men from the wharf in Alexandria to the hill to be fortified, and changes made necessary by a better knowledge of the ground, were the principal causes given for the delay. Both the Michigan regiment and the New York Zouaves were bivouacked and encamped on the site, leaving but a few men in town. I trust, therefore, that the Navy Department may be requested to [retain] the Pawnee at her present station. The works at the bridge-head of the Long Bridge were progressing finely, and the report to me was that the men were working diligently. The main work covering the Aqueduct and ferry opposite Georgetown was in a fair state. The Sixty-ninth New York is the only regiment at work on it, and they seemed to me to be working admirably.

Subsistence and means of transportation. – Subsistence is furnished to the troops away from the vicinity of Alexandria by returns on the main depot in Washington. This, and the utter absence of any wagons on this side, the want of means of communication on the part of some of the regiments, and the inexperience of most of the commanders, have caused the supplies to be irregularly and insufficiently furnished. One regiment has hired on its own account, out of private means, some wagons to procure its supplies. Forage has also been wanting. A depot is to be established at Alexandria, which will afford supplies to the troops in that vicinity. The depot in Washington might answer for all the others, provided the regiments be furnished with wagons to go for them. I suppose the Quartermasters Department in Washington has not at this time enough wagons to supply the force here with its allowance for its baggage merely, which would require about 200.

For the purpose of giving greater efficiency and a better administration of affairs, I have organized the troops not now brigaded into three brigades, and placed them under the colonels ordered to report to me in their letters of appointment. If a portion of the allowance of wagons for the regimental baggage were sent on and placed under the control of the brigade commanders, I think a better state of affairs will be gained at the least cost. With a view to movements in that direction, I have directed Colonel Stone to ascertain and report the amount of rolling stock on the Alexandria and Manassas Gap Railroad, and the amount of material required to place the road in working order.

I beg to request that some of the recent graduates heretofore assigned to the duty of instructing the volunteer regiments may be sent here for the same purpose and other duty. The only assistant quartermaster in the department is at Alexandria, to be in charge of the Quartermaster’s and Commissary Departments. I have to request that another officer of that department, furnished with funds, be sent for duty at headquarters. The troops are occupying houses in some cases, and fields, and cutting wood for fuel. Shall not rent and compensation be paid? If so, funds are needed for that purpose, as well as the hiring of means of transportation where the same has not been furnished.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respecfully, your most obedient servant,

Irvin McDowell,
Brigadier- General, Commanding.