Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee on Defensibility of Harper’s Ferry

14 12 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. 895-896

Memorandum for General Lee.

Headquarters,
Harper’s Ferry, Va., May 31, 1861.

Intelligence was brought me this morning, from a gentleman residing near Hagerstown, that 1,600 troops arrived in Chambersburg on Tuesday and 5,000 yesterday, making, with the 3,500 there before, 10,100, with plenty of artillery (quantity unknown), many wagons and horses. A note was shown me yesterday, written in Hagerstown on Wednesday afternoon, by a woman, in which it is said that such a force is to move to the Potomac (with baggage wagons) from Chambersburg through either Hagerstown or Greencastle.

In another note (from an officer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad), it is said that large forces are to enter Virginia somewhere between Cumberland and Hagerstown to meet Ohio troops. The Northern papers confirm this.

An officer of the railroad told me here that news of the occupation of Grafton by U. S. troops is brought by telegraph. We can learn nothing from the west, nor beyond the range of persons specially employed. Should the enemy cross the river above, we cannot learn when the Ohio troops join them, nor in what numbers.

This place cannot be held against an enemy who would venture to attack it. Would it not be better for these troops to join one of our armies, which is too weak for its object, than be lost here ? They are not equipped for the field. The only means of transportation, besides the railroad, are wagons impressed in the neighborhood. Should these troops be ordered elsewhere, please indicate any objectionable [?] route.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on Defensibility of Harper’s Ferry

14 12 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. 897

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

General Joseph E. Johnston,
Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

General : I received, on my return from Manassas Junction, your communications of the 26th and 28th ultimo, in reference to your position at Harper’s Ferry. The difficulties which surround it have been felt from the beginning of its occupation, and I am aware of the obstacles to its maintenance with your present force. Every effort has been made to remove them, and will be continued, but with similar necessities pressing on every side you need not be informed of the difficulty of providing against them. The arrangements made and positions taken by the troops under your command are judicious, and it is hoped that sufficient re-enforcements can be sent you to enable you to occupy your present point in force and carry out the plan of defense indicated in your communications. Great reliance is placed on your good judgment, the skill of your officers, and the ardor of your troops, and should you be attacked by a force which you may be unable to resist at all points and to keep beyond the frontier, you must move out of your position and destroy all facilities for the approach or shelter of an enemy. Concentrate your troops, and contest his approach step by step into the interior.

With a view of making your column movable, the Quartermaster’s Department was ordered, some weeks ago, to provide all the wagons they could, and I was informed that agents were sent to the country east and west of the Blue Bidge for the purpose. The little use for wagons, save for farming purposes, makes their collection difficult; but by the efforts of the Quartermaster’s Department and the means you have taken it is hoped you may be provided.

Ammunition has been sent to you. The supply was necessarily limited, in consequence of the calls from other points. Can you make arrangements to provide an auxiliary amount for your command?

I have informed you of the military arrangements east of the Blue Bidge. A large force is now collecting in front of Alexandria, and General Beauregard has been sent to command it. Its presence will make the enemy cautious in approaching your rear south of the Potomac, and in that event I hope you will receive timely intelligence, through the light troops under Colonel Ewell, extending to the Leesburg road. Should such a movement be made, as was suggested in a previous letter, you are expected to use your discretion as to the best mode of meeting it.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Special Orders #149 – Brig. Gen. G. T. Beauregard Assigned Command of Alexandria Line

14 12 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. 896

Special Orders,
No. 149

Headquarters Virginia Forces, No. 149.
Richmond, Va., May 31, 1861.

General G. T. Beauregard, of the C. S. Army, is assigned to the command of the troops in the Alexandria line. He is referred to the orders heretofore given to his predecessors in that command for the general direction of operations.

By order of Major-General Lee:

R. S. GARNETT,
Adjutant-General.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on Possible Coordination with Brig. Gen. Milledge L. Bonham

14 12 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. 894

Headquarters Virginia Forces, Richmond, Ya., May 30, 1861.

General Joseph E. Johnston,
Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

Sir: While at Manassas I made the following arrangements of light troops: A corps of observation, of cavalry and infantry, has been established, under Colonel Ewell, in advance of Fairfax Court-House, the right extending towards Occoquan, the left to the Leesburg road. Col. Eppa Hunton, commanding at Leesburg, has been ordered to have an advance post at Dranesville, and to extend his scouts down the Alexandria and Leesburg roads, to communicate with Colonel Ewell. He is to inform you of any movement of the U. S. troops, in the direction of Leesburg, tending to threaten your rear, through Captain Ashby, at Point of Rocks. In the event of such a movement, should you deem it advisable, and should you be unable to hold your position, I would suggest a joint attack by you and General Bonham, commanding at Manassas, for the purpose of cutting them off. I have given full verbal explanations to Capt. Thomas L. Preston, who leaves Richmond to-morrow, to join your command.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Col. Robert S. Garnett to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on Ammunition to be Supplied His Command

13 12 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. 891

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 29,1861.

General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

General : In the absence of General Lee, who is on a hasty visit to Manassas Junction, I have requested Colonel Dimmock to send to your command, with all practicable dispatch, one hundred thousand cartridges, five-eighths of them for smooth-bore muskets, and the remaining three-eighths equally divided between the minie musket and Harper’s Ferry rifle. In the absence of a requisition, specifying the caliber, I have adopted these proportions upon consultation with Lieutenant-Colonel Deas. Your letters will be submitted to General Lee as soon as he arrives, which will not, perhaps, be until to-morrow. President Davis arrived this morning, and I shall submit your papers to him.

I am, sir, very respectfully, &c.,

R. S. GARNETT, Adjutant- General.





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Col. Robert S. Garnett on Disposition of Forces at Harper’s Ferry

13 12 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. 889-890

Headquarters,
Harper’s Ferry, Va., May 28, 1861.

[Col. Garnett:]

Colonel : I reported to you on the 26th instant, for the information of the Commander-in-Chief, that the troops under my command are observing the river from Williamsport to the Point of Rocks. I will now give what was then omitted—the precise disposition of these troops:

Colonel Allen is opposite to Williamsport, thirty miles above, with his own regiment, two companies of Colonel Hill’s, and a section of artillery. The position cannot be defended by such a force, the ferry at Williamsport being at the vertex of a horseshoe, five or six miles in length, having another at each heel. A company of cavalry and a section of artillery guard the bridge at Shepherdstown. There are two companies of infantry, two of cavalry, and six field pieces, with their men, at the bridge at the Point of Rocks, twelve miles below, and a company of cavalry at the Berlin Bridge, halfway to the Point of Rocks. Preparations have been made to break each of these two bridges and the railroad bridge here. It is more than forty miles from Williamsport to the Point of Rocks. A detachment of three hundred and fifty infantry occupies a point on the Maryland Heights, one and a half miles from the near end of the crest of the ridge, and two and a half miles from Harper’s Ferry. The crest of the ridge beyond the Shenandoah is guarded by two companies of infantry.

In the present state of the river no force that could be detached from this place could prevent its passage by an enemy. In a few weeks, or even days, when fords will be numerous, an army will be necessary to guard the Potomac above, as far as the western line of Berkeley. With this point occupied, as it is, some five or six thousand men, judiciously placed between Martinsburg and the line, and a reserve of about the same force within striking distance of each, invasion would be difficult. As matters now are, the enemy can easily seize Martinsburg, in the heart of a disloyal population, and nearer than Harper’s Ferry to Winchester.

If the Commander-in-Chief has precise instructions to give, I beg to receive them early. I have prepared means of transportation for a march. Should it be decided that the troops should constitute a garrison, this expense can be reduced.

Your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON

P. S.—I submit a memorandum by Major Whiting, C. S. Engineers.

[Inclosure.]

Harper’s Ferry, Va., May 28, 1861.

Consultation on the condition of Harpers Ferry and its defenses reduced to writing.

The plan of the enemy, indicated by his movements, seems to be a cautious approach to, and entrance of, disaffected districts, securing his advance, if possible, by securing the sentiments of the people. In the district to the northwest of Harper’s Ferry these tactics will be the best he can follow, on account of known Union proclivities and the vicinity of the frontier.

Large bodies of troops are gathering at Carlisle and Chambersburg, the number already reported (probably exaggerated) being fifteen thousand. When ready to move they will occupy Martinsburg, crossing at Williamsport and Shepherdstown. Martinsburg is well known to be disaffected. His line, established from Martinsburg towards Shepherdstown, has an excellent base, and communications very difficult to interrupt by the Hagerstown and Cumberland roads, and very seriously threatens, not only Harper’s Ferry, with its present forces and conditions, but our whole line of operations. Martinsburg is nearer to Winchester than the Ferry, and access easy. Our holding Winchester is necessary to maintain the Ferry. To hold this post, then, either as a fortress, a point d’appui, or as a condition of the defense of the Virginia Valley, we require a force of from twelve to fifteen thousand men, of which two regiments should be cavalry. The force now at the Ferry (about five thousand effectives) might remain as at present, while the main body should be posted centrally, as at Burns’ Ford, on the Opequan, where a strong position might be selected, and, if necessary, defended by lines. The strengthening and re-enforcement of this force, as now constituted, seems to have ceased when most necessary. It is essential that supplies of ammunition (especially of equipments of shoes) should be forwarded in quantity, otherwise, without the arrangement designated, we are so deficient in ammunition that this force must, on the advance of the enemy, move out from the Ferry and maneuver, to prevent being shut up in a cul-de-sac.

The plan sketched above will absolutely force the enemy to very great delay and vastly extended preparations. It continually (by way of Leesburg and the eastern slope of the ridge) threatens the District of Columbia. If, however, he is beforehand with us (besides the present disastrous results), he gains what may take time, means, and men, on a similar scale, to recover.

Very respectfully,

W. H. C. WHITING,
Major of Engineers.





Special Orders #127 – Cavalry Ordered to Manassas

13 12 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. 886

Special Orders,
No. 127

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

The commanding officer of the cavalry camp at Ashland will select the four companies of his command best prepared for actual service in the field, and prepare them to move by railroad to Manassas Junction. Two of these companies will take the cars on Wednesday, at such hour and place as the railroad officers may appoint with the Quartermasters Department, and will be followed on the next day by the two remaining companies. The four companies will be placed under the command of Maj. Julian Harrison, Virginia volunteers, who will report to Brigadier-General Bonham on their arrival at Manassas Junction. They will be provided with at least one day’s cooked rations for the journey.

By order of Major-General Lee:

R. S. GARNETT,
Adjutant- General.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on Equipments for Harper’s Ferry

13 12 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. 883-884

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

Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston,
Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.;

General: In a letter from Colonel Jackson, of the 21st instant, lately received, he speaks of the want of an ordnance or artillery officer at your post. There is none at present available, but Major Elzey, of the Confederate Army, has been ordered here, and I will endeavor to place him on duty with you. Meantime I have thought that the services of Colonel Jackson might be applied to the mounting and preparing the batteries for service. The proper defense of the country west of you and the command of the railroad through that region is deemed very important to the safety of your position, and it is hoped you will be able to take measures to maintain it, or prevent the use of the road to invaders of the State. It is thought probable that you might add to the comfort of your command by procuring, or causing to be procured, at Winchester camp equipage for those companies said to he in want, and that arrangements might he made there for making cartridge-boxes, haversacks, &c.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Col. Robert S. Garnett On Supplies and Situation at Harper’s Ferry

12 12 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. 880-881

Headquarters,
Harper’s Ferry, Va., May 26, 1861.

Col. R. S. Garnett,
Adjutant-General Virginia Forces, Richmond, Va.:

Colonel: I respectfully transmit herewith a statement of the amount of ammunition on hand.

The quantity in possession of the troops does not exceed twelve or fifteen rounds, the force in this vicinity being about five thousand two hundred men. The statement includes what is still in the Ordnance Department, and is exclusive of the twelve or fifteen rounds issued. I respectfully suggest the importance of instant measures to send an additional supply as soon as possible. There is scarcely half enough here for an action.

We are observing the river from Williamsport to the Point of Rocks, at least thirty miles. Our force is too small, however, to prevent invasion by an enemy strong enough to be willing to attempt it. To hold this point and observe the river above the Point of Rocks would require fifteen or twenty thousand men. This position can be turned easily and effectively from above and below. After turning it, an enemy attacking in the rear would have decided advantage of ground against so small a force as our present one. Should the enemy cross the river the troops in this vicinity would be best employed in trying to retard his advance into the country. Their utter want of discipline and instruction will render it difficult to use them in the field. I beg to receive the views and instructions of the Commander-in-Chief in relation to the manner in which the troops under my command can best be used. I am procuring wagons to march, if necessary.

Captain Ashby, commanding near the Point of Rocks, was instructed by my predecessor to break the railroad whenever he found such a measure necessary for his defense. Those instructions were repeated by me. Captain Ashby reported this morning that in consequence of intelligence just received he was about to throw a mass of rock upon it, by blasting.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,
Brigadier- General, C. S. Army.


Memorandum in relation to Harper’s Ferry.

[May 26, 1861.]

There is no danger of attack in front, but the position is easily turned by crossing the river above or below. The present force is not sufficient for defense against a superior one, attacking from the Virginia side. Relief, in case of investment, could not be furnished. Considered as a position, I regard Harper’s Perry as untenable by us at present against a strong enemy. We have outposts at the Point of Rocks, near the ferry at Williamsport, and the bridge at Shepherdstown, the extreme points being at least thirty miles apart. Our effective force, including those detachments and two others on the opposite heights, is about five thousand men, with one hundred and forty thousand cartridges and seventy-five thousand percussion caps. The only way in which this force can be made useful, I think, is by rendering it movable, and employing it to prevent or retard the enemy’s passage of the Potomac, and, should he effect the crossing, in opposing his advance into the country. This I shall endeavor to do, unless instructed to the contrary. Orders to provide wagons have been given. Cartridges have been made at the rate of four thousand per diem. I have directed increase of the force employed. Bullet-molds and cartridge-paper are wanting, and may not be procured.

J. E. JOHNSTON,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Sec. of War LeRoy Pope Walker on Equipments of Confederate Troops Entering the State

12 12 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. 877

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 25, 1861.

Hon. L. Pope Walker, Secretary of War, Montgomery, Ala.:

Sir: Being very much embarrassed in furnishing the troops which have been called into service by the State of Virginia with arms, ammunition, and the necessary accouterments, on account of the limited supply and the small size of our arsenal and workshops, I beg leave to suggest that the troops ordered to this State may come provided with arms, ammunition, cartridge-boxes, knapsacks, haversacks, and all other necessary equipments, and that their organization be as complete as practicable.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General Commanding.