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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 2, Ch. IX–Reports.



April 16-July 31, 1861.
(Bull Run / Manassas)


April 17, 1861.– Ordinance of secession adopted by Virginia Convention.
18, 1861.– Maj. Gen. William B. Taliaferro assigned to command of Virginia forces at Norfolk, Va.
18, 1861.– United States Armory at Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., abandoned and burned by its garrison.
19, 1861.– Conflict between United States troops and mob in Baltimore, Md.
19, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson, Pennsylvania Militia, assigned to command over the States of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
20, 1861.– General Butler’s command arrives at Annapolis, Md.
Expedition to destroy the dry-dock at Norfolk, Va.
23, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee assigned to command of the military and naval forces of Virginia.
26, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Virginia Volunteers, assigned to command of the State forces in and about Richmond, Va.
26, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Walter Gwynn, Virginia Volunteers, assigned to command of State forces in and about Norfolk, Va.
27, 1861.– Major-General Patterson, Pennsylvania Militia, assigned to command of the Department of Pennsylvania.
Brig. Gen. B. F. Butler, Massachusetts Militia, assigned to command of the Department of Annapolis.
Col. Joseph K. F. Mansfield, U. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of Washington.
Col. T. J. Jackson, Virginia Volunteers, assigned to command of State troops at and about Harper’s Ferry, W. Va.
May 1, 1861.– Volunteer forces called out in Virginia.
3, 1861.– Governor of Virginia issues call for additional forces.
4, 1861.– Col. G. A. Porterfield assigned to command of State forces in Northwestern Virginia (W. Va.). {p.2}
5, 1861.– Alexandria, Va., abandoned by State troops. (Reoccupied.)
7, 1861.– Routes between Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Washington, via Baltimore, re-established.
9, 1861.– Exchange of shots between the United States steamer Yankee and the batteries at Gloucester Point, Va.
10, 1861.– Maj. Gen. R. E. Lee assigned to command of the Confederate States forces serving in Virginia.
13, 1861.– Baltimore, Md., occupied by United States troops.
Maj. Gen. Geo. B. McClellan, U. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of the Ohio, embracing a portion of West Virginia.
14, 1861.– Seizure of a train of cars at Harper’s Ferry, W. Va.
15, 1861.– Bvt. Maj. Gen. George Cadwalader, Pennsylvania Militia, supersedes General Butler in Department of Annapolis. Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, C. S. Army, assigned to command of troops near Harper’s Ferry, W. Va.
18-19, 1861.– Engagement at Sewell’s Point, Va.
21, 1861.– Col. John B. Magruder, Provisional Army of Virginia, assigned to command at Yorktown, Va.
21, 1861.– Brig. Gen. M. L. Bonham, C. S. A., assigned to command on the “Alexandria Line,” Va.
22, 1861.– Brig. Gen. B. F. Butler, Massachusetts Militia, assigned to command at Fort Monroe, Va.
23, 1861.– Brig. Gen. Benjamin Huger, Virginia Volunteers, assigned to command at Norfolk, Va.
Demonstration on Hampton, Va.
24, 1861.– Advance of Union Army into Virginia, and its occupation of Arlington Heights and Alexandria.
26-30, 1861.– Advance upon and occupation of Grafton, W. Va., by Union forces.
27-29, 1861.– Occupation of Newport News, Va., by Union forces.
28, 1861.– Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, U. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of Northeastern Virginia.
31-June 1, 1861.– Attack on Aquia Creek batteries, Va.
June 1, 1861.– Skirmishes, at Arlington Mills and Fairfax Court-House, Va.
2, 1861.– Brig. Gen. G. T. Beauregard, C. S. Army, supersedes General Bonham in command on the “Alexandria Line” (sometimes called the “Department of Alexandria,” the “Potomac Department,” and afterwards the “Army of the Potomac”).
3, 1861.– Action at Philippi, W. Va.
5, 1861.– Attack upon Pig Point batteries, Va.
6, 1861.– Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, C. S. Army, ordered to command of troops in the Kanawha Valley, W. Va.
7, 1861.– Reconnaissance from Yorktown to Newport News, Va.
8, 1861.– Virginia State troops transferred to the Confederate States.
Brig. Gen. R. S. Garnett, C. S. Army, assigned to command of troops in Northwestern Virginia (W. Va.).
10, 1861.– Brig. Gen. Beauregard in command of all Confederate forces in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties, Va.
Engagement at Big Bethel, or Bethel Church, Va.
10-July 7, 1861.– The Rockville (Maryland) expedition.
June 11, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Banks supersedes Bvt. Maj. Gen. Cadwalader in Department of Annapolis.
13, 1861.– Descent of Union troops upon Romney, W. Va.
15, 1861.– Skirmish at Bowman’s Place, Cheat River, W. Va.
Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., evacuated by Confederate forces.
17, 1861.– Action near Vienna, Va. {p.3}
19, 1861.– Skirmish at New Creek, W. Va.
23, 1861.– Skirmish at Righter, W. Va.
24, 1861.– Affair on the Rappahannock, Va.
25, 1861.– Descent on Mathias Point, Va.
26, 1861.– Skirmishes at Frankfort and on Patterson’s Creek, W. Va.
27, 1861.– Attack on Mathias Point, Va.
July 1, 1861.– Arrest of the Baltimore Police Commissioners.
2-25, 1861.– Operations in the Shenandoah Valley.
5, 1861.– Skirmish near Newport News, Va.
6-17, 1861.– Campaign in West Virginia.
9, 1861.– Skirmish at Vienna, Va.
12, 1861.– Skirmish near Newport News, Va.
14, 1861.– Reconnaissances from Alexandria, Va.
16-22, 1861.– The Bull Run, or Manassas, campaign, Va.
19, 1861.– Affair on the Back River Road, Va.
Affair near New Market Bridge, Va.
20, 1861.– Brig. Gen. William W. Loring, C. S. Army, assigned to command of “Northwestern Army” (W. Va.).
21, 1861.– Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks, U. S. Army, ordered to relieve Major-General Patterson in command of the Department of the Shenandoah.
22, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Geo. B. McClellan, U. S. Army, ordered to Washington, D. C.
23, 1861.– Maj. Gen. John A. Dix, U. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of Maryland.
Brig. Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, U. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of the Ohio, embracing portion of West Virginia.
24, 1861.– Operations on Back River, Va.
Retreat of General Wise’s command up the Kanawha Valley.
25, 1861.– Major-General Banks assumes command of the Department of the Shenandoah.
24, 1861.– Major-General Dix assumes command of the Department of Pennsylvania.
27, 1861.– Major-General McClellan assumes command of the Division of the Potomac.
29, 1861.– Skirmish at Edwards Ferry, Md.

* The State Of West Virginia was not admitted into the Union until June 20, 1863. For that reason, and because the Confederates did not recognize the partition of Virginia a thus made, places in the new State are frequently referred to, in the text of these Records, as being either in Virginia or in Western Virginia. The transfer of the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson from Virginia to West Virginia was not recognized by Congress until March 10, 1866.

** Of some of the skirmishes, and other minor conflicts, noted in this “Summary,” no circumstantial reports are on file, the only official record of such events being references thereto on muster rolls and returns.

APRIL 18, 1861-Destruction of the United States Armory at Harper’s Ferry, W. Va.


No. 1.–Lieut. Roger Jones, Mounted Rifles, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Congratulatory letter from United States Secretary of War to Lieutenant Jones.
No. 3.–Lieut. Col. William Maynadier, U. S. Ordnance Department, of the expenditures upon and losses at the armory.

No. 1.

Reports of First Lieut. B. Jones, Mounted Rifles, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES ARMORY, Harper’s Ferry, Va., April 18, 1861-9 p. m.

SIR: Up to the present time no assault or attempt to seize the Government property here has been made, but there is decided evidence that the subject is in contemplation, and has been all day, by a large number of people living in the direction of Charlestown; and at sundown this evening several companies of troops had assembled at Halltown, {p.4} about three or four miles from here on the road to Charlestown, with the intention of seizing the Government property, and the last report is that the attack will be made to-night. I telegraphed this evening to General Scott that I had received information confirming his dispatch of this morning, and later to the Adjutant-General that I expected an attack tonight. I have taken steps which ought to insure my receiving early intelligence of the advance of any forces, and my determination is to destroy what I cannot defend, and if the forces sent against me are clearly overwhelming, my present intention is to retreat into Pennsylvania.

The steps I have taken to destroy the arsenal, which contains nearly 15,000 stand of arms, are so complete that I can conceive of nothing that will prevent their entire destruction.

If the Government purposes maintaining its authority here, no time should be lost in sending large bodies of troops to my assistance, and as many of them as possible should be regulars.

A courier has just reported the advance of the troops from Halltown.

Respectfully, I am, I sir, your obedient servant,

R. JONES, First Lieutenant, Mounted Riflemen, Commanding.

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C.


CHAMBERSBURG, April 19, 1861.

Finding my position untenable, shortly after 10 o’clock last night I destroyed the arsenal, containing 15,000 stand of arms, and burned up the armory building proper, and under cover of the night withdrew my command almost in the presence of twenty-five hundred or three thousand troops. This was accomplished with but four casualties. I believe the destruction must have been complete. I will await orders at Carlisle.




CARLISLE BARRACKS, PA., April 20, 1861.

SIR: Immediately after finishing my dispatch of the night of the 18th instant, I received positive and reliable information that 2,500 or 3,000 State troops would reach Harper’s Ferry in two hours, from Winchester, and that the troops from Halltown, increased to 300 men, were advancing and were at that time (few minutes after 10 o’clock) within twenty minutes’ march of the Ferry. Under these circumstances I decided the time had arrived to carry out my determination, as expressed in the dispatch above referred to, and accordingly gave the order to apply the torch. In three minutes, or less, both of the arsenal buildings, containing nearly 15,000 arms, together with the carpenter’s shop, which was at the upper end of a long and connected series of workshops of the armory proper, were in a complete blaze.

There is every reason for believing the destruction was complete. After firing the buildings I withdrew my command, marching all night, and arrived here at 2 1/2 p. m. yesterday, where I shall await orders. Four {p.5} men were missing on leaving the armory, and two deserted during the night.

Respectfully, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

R. JONES, First Lieut. Mounted Riflemen, Comdg. Detachment Recruits.

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C.


CARLISLE BARRACKS, PA., April 22, 1861.

SIR: Last evening three of my missing men arrived here, having left Harper’s Ferry the previous afternoon. They report that fifteen minutes after my command left the armory nine hundred troops marched into town, and that they continued to arrive every hour during the night, so that by morning there were probably nearly five, thousand troops there. They also report that the fire in the workshops was arrested, but that the arsenal buildings containing the arms, together with their contents, were completely demolished, and that it is probable not a single gun was saved from them.

I remain, sir, with respect, your obedient servant,

R. JONES, First Lieutenant Mounted Riflemen.

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C.


No. 2.

Congratulatory letter from United States Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 22, 1861.

Lieut. ROGER JONES, Commanding at Harper’s Ferry:

My DEAR SIR: I am directed by the President of the United States to communicate to you, and through you to the officers and men under your command at Harper’s Ferry Armory, the approbation of the Government of your and their judicious conduct there, and to tender to you and them the thanks of the Government for the same.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.


No. 3.

Report of Lieut. Col. William Maynadier, U. S. Ordnance Department, of the expenditures upon and losses at the armory.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, November 16, 1861.

SIR: In answer to the letter [following] of the Hon. John P. Hale, chairman of the committee of the Senate, which you referred to this {p.6} office, I have the honor to report that the U. S. Armory at Harper’s Ferry was established in the year 1796.

The amount expended on the same is–

For land purchased at different times $45,477
For improvements thereon for water-power, canals, embankments, walls, and water privileges, and for hydraulic machinery and buildings of an kinds 1,787,430
Total, exclusive of the amount expended in the manufacture and repair of arms 1,832,907

The latest annual inventory of the property belonging to the United States at that armory is dated June 30, 1860, in which the value of all the property on hand at that date is appraised as follows, viz:

1,6691 acres of land $37,457
Mill-dams, canals, water-powers, and hydraulic machinery 233,279
Forges, rolling-mills, machine-shops, storehouses, dwellings, and other buildings 341,221
Amount of real estate 611,957
Machines used in workshops $270,235
Tools used in service 109,560
Unwrought materials on hand 100,043
Parts of arms in progress 93,573
20, 507 arms of different models in store 285,145
Total appraised value June 30, 1860 1,470,513

By the latest returns received at this office from the armory, it appears that the number of arms in store when the armory was destroyed in April, 1861, was reduced to 4,287, the value of which was about $64,000.

We may assume that the quantity and value of all other property than the arms in store remained without material change from June, 1860, to April, 1861. The diminished number of arms in store at the latter date reduces that item in the inventory from $285,145 to $164,300, and the total appraised value of all the property from $1,470,513 to $1,207,668.

Respectfully, &c.,

WM. MAYNADIER, Lieutenant-Colonel, Ordnance.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.


U. S. CAPITOL, November 14, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: The committee of the Senate “to inquire into the circumstances attending the destruction of the property of the United States at the armory at Harper’s Ferry,” &c., desire to be informed by the War Department of the date of the establishment of the Harper’s Ferry Armory, the amount expended upon the same by the Government previous to its destruction, the character of the buildings, machinery, &c., and the quantity and description of arms destroyed there, and of the material on hand at that time.

Respectfully, yours,

JOHN P. HALE, Chairman.


APRIL 19, 1861.-Conflict between United States troops and mob in Baltimore, Md., and interruption of communication through that city with Washington.


No. 1.–Col. Edward F. Jones, Sixth Massachusetts Militia.
No. 2.–Board of Baltimore Police Commissioners.
No. 3.–Hon. George William Brown, Mayor of Baltimore.
No. 4.–Message of the Mayor of Baltimore.
No. 5.–Statement of George M. Gill.

No. 1.

Report of Col. Edward F. Jones, Sixth Massachusetts Militia.

HDQRS. 6TH REGIMENT, 3D BRIG., 2D DIV., M. V. M., Capitol, Washington, April 22, 1861.

In accordance with Special Orders, NO. 6, I proceeded with my command towards the city of Washington, leaving Boston on the evening of the 17th April, arrived in New York on the morning of the 18th, and proceeded to Philadelphia, reaching that place on the same evening.

On our way John Brady, of Company H, Lowell, was taken insane, and deeming it unsafe to have him accompany the regiment, I left him at Delanco, N. J., with J. C. Buck, with directions that he should telegraph Mayor Sargent, of Lowell, as to the disposition of him, and we proceeded thence to Baltimore, reaching that place at noon on the 19th. After leaving Philadelphia I received intimation that our passage through the city of Baltimore would be resisted. I caused ammunition to be distributed and arms loaded, and went personally through the cars, and issued the following order, viz:

The regiment will march through Baltimore in column of sections, arms at will. You will undoubtedly be insulted, abused, and, perhaps, assaulted, to which you must pay no attention whatever, but march with your faces square to the front, and pay no attention to the mob, even if they throw stones, bricks, or other missiles; but if you are fired upon and any one of you is hit, your officers will order you to fire. Do not fire into any promiscuous crowds, but select any man whom you may see aiming at you, and be sure you drop him.

Reaching Baltimore, horses were attached the instant that the locomotive was detached, and the cars were driven at a rapid pace across the city. After the cars containing seven companies had reached the Washington depot the track behind them was barricaded, and the cars containing band and the following companies, viz: Company C, of Lowell, Captain Follansbee; Company D, of Lowell, Captain Hart; Company I, of Lawrence, Captain Pickering, and Company L, of Stoneham, Captain Dike, were vacated, and they proceeded but a short distance before they were furiously attacked by a shower of missiles, which came faster as they advanced. They increased their steps to double-quick, which seemed to infuriate the mob, as it evidently impressed the mob with the idea that the soldiers dared not fire or had no ammunition, and pistol-shots were numerously fired into the ranks, and one soldier fell dead. The order “Fire” was given, and it was executed. In consequence, several of the mob fell, and the soldiers again advanced hastily. The mayor of Baltimore placed himself at the head of the column beside Captain Follansbee, and proceeded with them a short distance, assuring him that he would protect them, and begging him not to let the men fire; but the mayor’s patience was soon exhausted, and he {p.8} seized a musket from the hands of one of the men and killed a man therewith, and a policeman, who was in advance of the column, also shot a man with a revolver.

They at last reached the cars, and they started immediately for Washington. On going through the train I found there were about one hundred and thirty missing, including the band and field music. Our baggage was seized, and we have not as yet been able to recover any of it. I have found it very difficult to get reliable information in regard to the killed and wounded, but believe there were, only three killed, viz: