Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee and Col. Thomas J. Jackson Discuss Policy Regarding Maryland

28 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 832-833, 836

Division Hdqrs., Harpers Ferry, Va., May 11, 1861.

Maj. Gen. R. E. Lee :

General: The precautions mentioned in your letter of the 6th instant have been under consideration for some time, and some of them have been taken; others are progressing as rapidly as the circumstances admit of. Arrangements are complete for a desperate defense at Point of Rocks. I have troops also at Berlin, Shepherdstown, and Martinsburg. Marylanders, with artillery, are opposite Shepherdstown, and have threatened us there to such an extent as to induce the officer stationed there to call on me for artillery; and though I can poorly spare it, yet, under the circumstances, I must comply. Previous to receiving your letter I had authorized the payment of $5 for the best arms, and graded pieces below that. My report for yesterday* will show the strength of the command. I can get enough volunteers from the counties named to swell the force to probably four thousand five hundred; but they are without arms, accouterments, and ammunition. Please send me five thousand good muskets and rifles, with complete equipments. Also full equipments for three hundred cavalry, and an additional light battery more than those called for in my last. Make this the depot for the northwest. Grafton should be occupied at once. Col. J. M. Bennett will deliver this to you, and give important information respecting the northwest. The quartermaster, Mr. John A. Harman, of this post, should not be removed, if it can possibly be avoided. Please have him appointed and retained, if practicable. I had difficulty in inducing him to remain; but, if the appointment be sent to him, I think he will continue here.

Please to forward the arms at once, and all troops and supplies destined for Harper’s Perry. I respectfully request they may be sent at once. Have no fear of this place being surprised.

Your most obedient servant,

T. J. JACKSON,
Colonel, Virginia Volunteers, Commanding.

*Not found.


Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 12,1861.

Col. T. J. Jackson,
Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

Colonel : I have just received your letter of the 11th instant, by Colonel Bennett. I am concerned at the feeling evinced in Maryland, and fear it may extend to other points, besides opposite Shepherdstown. It will be necessary, in order to allay it, that you confine yourself to a strictly defensive course. I presume the points occupied by you at Point of Bocks, Berlin, and Shepherdstown are on our side. I am glad to hear that volunteers are assembling. Over two thousand arms have already been sent to you, and one thousand more have been ordered this evening. If you only expect to receive sufficient volunteers to swell your force to four thousand five hundred men, I do not see how you can require five thousand arms, as you must now have nearly three thousand armed, besides the three thousand arms, above mentioned, ordered to you. We have no rifles or cavalry equipments. The latter may use double-barreled shot-guns and buck-shot, if no better arms can be procured. I will see to the quartermaster. I fear no field battery can be sent you besides that now preparing. The Fourth Begiment Alabama troops, from Lynchburg, have gone to you, and I have ordered two others from the same point. Ammunition has also been ordered to you. You know our limited resources, and must abstain from all provocation for attack as long as possible.

I am, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
Major-General, Commanding.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee and Col Thomas J. Jackson on the Occupation of Maryland Heights

26 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 823-825

Division Headquarters,
Harpers Ferry, May 9, 1861.

Major-General Lee,
Commander Virginia Forces:

General: If this place is attacked, we may expect the enemy to make a free use of rifled cannon, in addition to field artillery, and possibly larger caliber.

The object of this letter is to state that Colonel Thomas, adjutant-general of Maryland, has placed at my disposal the ordnance from the Virginia navy-yard en route for Baltimore via this place, and to request that you will, should it meet with your approbation, send a competent ordnance officer, with sufficient force and means, to mount such pieces as I may designate.

I am, general, your most obedient servant,

T. J. JACKSON,
Colonel Virginia Volunteers, Commanding Division.

P. S.—There are about 2,200 Federal troops at the Relay House, others beyond Baltimore, and about 4,000 near Chambersburg, Pa. I have occupied the Maryland Heights with the Kentuckians and one company of infantry from Augusta County, making about 500 in all.


Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 10, 1861.

Col. T. J. Jackson,
Virginia Volunteers, Commanding Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

Colonel: Your letter of the 7th instant, by Major Massie, has been received. Orders have been given to fill your requisition for arms, ammunition, and accouterments as far as possible. In addition to the guns that you were advised yesterday would be sent to you, I have directed two 32-pounders, with navy carriages, and a supply of ammunition, &c., to be forwarded to you. They will be in charge of Lieutenant Fauntleroy, of the Navy, who is ordered to report to you, and I hope will be useful in defending your post.

Your intention to fortify the heights of Maryland may interrupt our friendly arrangements with that State, and we have no right to intrude on her soil, unless, under pressing necessity, for defense. I had hoped that her own citizens would have relieved us of that question, and you must endeavor to give to the course you may find it necessary to pursue the appearance of its being the act of her citizens. At all events, do not move until actually necessary and under stern necessity.

I have directed the companies ordered to rendezvous at Staunton to be sent to you as soon as mustered into the service, and I hope you will receive a large accession of troops under the authority extended to you. Several officers of experience have been sent to you, and I shall endeavor to send some cadets. I know, from the spirit with which you are animated, that you will leave nothing undone to insure the defense of your post and the security of your command. You will not neglect, therefore, the instruction of the troops, who ought to be constantly practicing their military exercises and prepared in every way for hard service. Every rifle that you can finish will be of advantage, but it will be necessary to send off that machinery as soon as the musket factory is removed. I have directed the Quartermaster and Commissary Departments to send funds, if practicable, to the assistant quartermaster and commissary at your post.

Respectfully, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
Major-General, Commanding.


Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va.y May 10,1861.

Col. T. J. Jackson, Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.;

Colonel: Your letter of May 9th has just been received. The guns you refer to, intended for Maryland, have, I understand, been stopped by the governor. I wrote you to-day that two 32-pounders had been ordered to you. I fear you may have been premature in occupying the heights of Maryland with so strong a force near you. The true policy is to act on the defensive, and not invite an attack. If not too late, you might withdraw until the proper time. I have already suggested to you the probability of the use of the canal as a means of carrying ordnance and munitions from Washington to use against you. In that event it would be well to cut the supply dams to prevent its use. Ten cadets have been ordered to report to you, in addition to the ten now there.

Very respectfullv, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
Major- General, Commanding.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Thomas J. Jackson Directing Him to Not Move Into Maryland, and on Aid to Harper’s Ferry

25 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 822

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 9, 1861.

Col. T. J. Jackson, Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.;

Colonel: I have received your letter of the 6th instant, and am gratified at the progress you have made in the organization of your command. I hope some of the field officers directed to report to you will have arrived and entered on their duties. In your preparation for the defense of your position it is considered advisable not to intrude upon the soil of Maryland, unless compelled by the necessities of war. The aid of its citizens might be obtained in that quarter. I regret I have no engineer of experience to send you. You will have to rely upon your judgment and the aid of the oflicers with you. I have directed that four 6-pounder guns be forwarded to you as soon as possible, and two 12-pounder howitzers, with a supply of ammunition and equipment for firing, will be sent to you at once. There are no caissons. Horses, wagons, and harness will be procured near you by an agent of the quartermaster’s department, sent for the purpose.

Captain Pendleton’s company of artillery from Lexington will join you as soon as possible, with such field pieces as it has. Flour and provisions for use of the troops must be secured. In other respects it is not designed to embarrass the legitimate commerce of our citizens.

I have directed that one thousand muskets, obtained from North Carolina, be sent to you, to aid in arming your command and to respond to requisitions that may be made upon you by Colonel Porterfield. Your requisitions upon the staff department at headquarters, as far as possible, will be filled.

Respectfully, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
Major- General, Commanding.





Col. Thomas J. Jackson to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee on Actions Since Taking Command at Harper’s Ferry

23 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 809-810

Division Headquarters,
Harper’s Ferry, Va., May 6, 1861.

General Lee, Commander-in-Chief:

General: I assumed command of this post on Monday last, soon after my arrival here. Since that time I have been busily occupied organizing the command and mustering the troops into service. I send herewith a report of the strength for May 4.* To-morrow I will give you a more detailed account of the forces, equipments, &c. All the troops have been mustered into service, except some companies on detached service. I have occupied the Virginia and Maryland Heights, and I am about fortifying the former with block-houses of sufficient strength to resist an attempt to carry them by storm. Whenever the emergency calls lor it, I shall construct similar works on the Maryland Heights. Thus far I have been deterred from doing so by a desire to avoid giving offense to the latter State. If you have an experienced engineer officer, I hope that you will order him here, if you have no duty for him elsewhere. There are four 6-pounder guns here without caissons. I respectfully request that you will send the caissons, and also two 6-pounder batteries and two extra 12-pounder howitzers, all fully supplied with ammunition, horses, equipments, and everything necessary for being turned over to companies now waiting for them. Reliable information has been received that the Federal troops are at the Relay House. As four thousand flints have been found here, I have taken the responsibility of ordering the one thousand flint-lock rifles from the Lexington Arsenal, and also ten barrels of musket and ten barrels of rifle powder, as in my opinion the emergency justified the order. Should the Federal troops advance in this direction, I shall no longer stand on ceremony. In addition to the cavalry stationed at Point of Rocks, I this morning ordered two 6-pounders to the same position. The enemy, from good authority, are about four thousand strong in the neighborhood of Chambersburg. About two-thirds of the machinery from the musket factory has been removed from here. This morning Mr. John Ambler, the quartermaster in Winchester, informed me that the merchants were paying double freights, and were thus securing all the transportation. To prevent the consequent delay of the machinery, I directed him to impress the wagons. He also notified me that the baggage cars from Strasburg were employed in carrying flour from the valley to New York, and that every barrel would be required for our use. To remedy this evil, until the subject could be referred to you, and also to secure the transportation for the machinery, I directed him to impress the cars. About four hundred and eighty Kentucky volunteers are here without arms, and stand greatly in need of them. I directed some old arms to be issued to them, but they refused to receive them. I refer the subject to you, with the hope that something may be done towards arming them. The material is good. My object is to put Harper’s Ferry in the most defensible state possible, and hence feel it my duty to give the best arms to the Virginia troops, as the others may at any time be ordered off. The news from the northwest shows great disaffection, especially in Ohio County.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. J. JACKSON,
Virginia Volunteers, Commanding.

*Not found.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Thomas J. Jackson to Prepare for Federal Assault on Harper’s Ferry

23 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 806-807

Headquarters Virginia Forces, Richmond, Va., May 6,1861.

Col. T. J. Jackson,
Commanding Volunteers, Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

Colonel: I consider it probable that the Government at Washington will make a movement against Harper’s Ferry, and occupy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with that view, or use the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal for the transportation of troops. You are desired to watch these avenues of approach, and endeavor to frustrate their designs. On receiving certain intelligence of the approach of troops it will become necessary to destroy the bridge at Harper’s Ferry and obstruct their passage by the canal as much as possible. You might make some confidential arrangements with persons in Maryland to destroy the Monocacy railroad bridge and draw the water out of the canal, should there be assurances of the enemy’s attempt to make use of either.

You are authorized to offer the payment of $5 for each musket that may be returned of those taken possession of by the people in and about Harper’s Ferry.

It is advisable that you establish some troops at Martinsburg, or other more advantageous point, if your force will permit. I desire that you will report the amount of your present force and the number of volunteers that will probably respond to the call of the governor from the counties indicated in his proclamation.

Respectfully, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
Major- General, Commanding.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Thomas J. Jackson Directing Him to Recruit and Form Companies at Harper’s Ferry

21 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 793-794

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 1,1861.

Col. T. J. Jackson, Commanding Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

Colonel: Under authority of the governor of the State, you are directed to call out volunteer companies from the counties in the valley adjacent to Harper’s Ferry, viz, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire, Hardy, Frederick, and Clarke, including the troops you may muster in at Harper’s Ferry, not counting five regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and two batteries of light artillery, of four pieces each. The average number of enlisted men in each company will be eighty-two, and the troops will be directed to rendezvous at Harper’s Ferry. You will select, as far as possible, uniformed companies with arms, organize them into regiments under the senior captains, until proper field officers can be appointed. You will report the number of companies accepted in the service of the State under this authority, their description, arms, &c. Five hundred Louisiana troops, said to be en route for this place, will be directed to report to you, and you will make provision accordingly.

You are desired to urge the transfer of all the machinery, materials, &c., from Harper’s Ferry, as fast as possible, and have it prepared in Winchester for removal to Strasburg, whence it will be ordered to a place of safety. The machinery ordered to this place must be forwarded with dispatch, as has already been directed. The remainder will await at Strasburg further orders. All the machinery of the rifle factory, and everything of value therein, will be also removed as rapidly as your means will permit. If the troops can be advantageously used in the removal of the machinery, they will be so employed. It is thought probable that some attack may be made upon your position from Pennsylvania, and you will keep yourself as well informed as possible of any movements against you. Should it become necessary to the defense of your position, you will destroy the bridge across the Potomac. You are particularly directed to keep your plans and operations secret, and endeavor to prevent their being published in the papers of the country.

I am, sir, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
Major-General, Commanding.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Thomas J. Jackson Directing Him to Take Command at Harper’s Ferry

19 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 784-785

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., April 27, 1861.

Col. Thomas J. Jackson,
Virginia Volunteers, Camp near Richmond, Va.:

Colonel: You will proceed, without delay, to Harper’s Ferry, Va., in execution of the orders of the governor of the State, and assume command of that post. After mustering into the service of the State such companies as may be accepted under your instruction, you will organize them into regiments or battalions, uniting, as far as possible, companies from the same section of the State. These will be placed under their senior captains, until the field officers can be appointed by the governor. It is desired that you expedite the transfer of the machinery to this place, ordered to the Richmond Armory, should it not have been done, and that you complete, as fast as possible, any guns or rifles partially constructed, should it be safe and practicable. Your attention will be particularly directed to the safety of such arms, machinery, parts of arms, raw material, &c., that may be useful, to insure which they must be at once sent into the interior, if in your judgment necessary. If any artillery companies offer their services, or are mustered into the service of the State, and are without batteries, report the facts.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

R. E. LEE, Major-General, Commanding.





Gov. John Letcher to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee on Placing Col. Thomas J. Jackson in Command at Harper’s Ferry

19 11 2020

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

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 784

Executive Department, April 27, 1861.

Maj. Gen. R. E. Lee, Commanding, &c.:

Sir : You will direct Col. T. J. Jackson to proceed to Harper’s Ferry, to organize into regiments the volunteer forces which have been called into the service of the State, and which may be assembled in the neighborhood. Direct him to report with as much dispatch as possible the number and description of the companies thus organized; the character and condition of their arms, and the names of the company officers present for duty, and where from; also, the names of all general, field, and staff officers now in the field in that command, that the Executive may have the information required for the proper organization of the regiments and brigades according to the ordinance of the Convention of April 21,1861. You will place Colonel Jackson, for the present, in command of the troops in that locality, and give him such general instructions as may be required for the military defenses of the State. Direct him to make diligent inquiry as to the state of feeling in the northwestern portion of the State. If necessary, appoint a confidential agent for that purpose, but great confidence is placed in the personal knowledge of Major Jackson in this regard. If deemed expedient, he can assemble the volunteer forces of the northwest at such points as he may deem best, giving prompt information of the same. Promptness in all these matters is indispensable.

I am, very respectfully,

JOHN LETCHER.





Key Harpers Ferry Battlefield Land Threatened

3 08 2010

Most of you are no doubt aware of the impending construction of a Wal-Mart on land near the Chancellorsville Battlefield.  Likewise you probably have heard the hue and cry surrounding the possible development of land outside Gettysburg as a casino complex.  These two parcels of land have something other than their proximity to major NPS parks in common: they’re NOT situated on battlefield land.

On Bolivar Heights-South at Harpers Ferry, development threatens property that IS battlefield land: on the evening of September 14-15, 1862, the right wing of Stonewall Jackson’s three division force under the command of A. P. Hill occupied Bolivar Heights-South as he maneuvered to turn Union General Dixon Miles’s position on Bolivar Heights, a move that effectively compelled the Federal commander to surrender the town.

Now that land, 406 acres known as Old Standard Quarry, is slated for 2.3 MILLION square feet of commercial space.  That’s more than 16 Super Wal-Marts, according to Harpers Ferry NHP Chief Historian Dennis Frye.  Add to that floor space acres of asphalt parking, streets, and lighting.  Last fall, under the guise of a timber harvest, the developers clear-cut the western face of the hillside, which you can see in the picture below, on the far side of the central strip of vegetation,  as viewed from the position of Jackson’s center on School House Ridge.

These are the same developers who in 2006 notoriously and illegally dug up and installed water and sewer lines on the School House Ridge battlefield ground on NPS property!  These lines, which make the development of Old Standard Quarry possible, are still functional thanks in part to our Department of Justice, which for some unknown reason has never taken action against the scofflaws.  The developers have somehow obtained a regulatory exemption through the State of West Virginia that absolves them of adherence to local planning and zoning ordinances – that’s right, these guys are obligated to follow almost no regulations.  What’s up with that?

The National Parks Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Friends of Harpers Ferry Park, and the Harpers Ferry Conservancy have united to counter the developers.  If you want to know how you can help, follow the links provided.

Steven Mynes beat me to the punch on this here.





Harper’s Ferry Events Kick Off Civil War Sesquicentennial

18 10 2009

It seems that this past weekend’s events at Harper’s Ferry in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid are being recognized as the kickoff for the Civil War sesquicentennial.  This may come as a surprise to some folks in Kansas.  A few bloggers were in attendance for at least some of the festivities, and as they post their thoughts and pictures, I’ll link to them here.

Jared Frederick (History Matters) here.

Craig Swain (To the Sound of the Guns) here.

Donald Thompson (Touch the Elbow) here.