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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 4, Ch. XIII–Union Correspondence.


August 1, 1861-January 11, 1862.


FORT MONROE, August 8, 1861.

Col. THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War:

DEAR SIR: May I ask you if you have overlooked the order signed by the President for the raising of 5,000 troops? I pray you get this thing through for me, and I will be obliged forever and ever. I am losing good daylight, now that the three-months’ men are being disbanded. Can you not add this to the many kind courtesies of our friendship?

Truly, yours,




Major-General WOOL, U. S. A., Troy, N. Y.:

It is desirable that you repair to and assume command of the department of which Fort Monroe is the place of headquarters. It is intended to re-enforce that department (recently reduced) for aggressive purposes. Is your health equal to that command? If yes, you will be ordered thither at once. Reply immediately.





GENERAL: I have the honor to report the safe return of an expedition under Lieutenant Crosby, of my command, upon the Eastern Shore, for the purpose of interrupting the commerce between the rebels of Maryland and their brothers in Virginia. I also inclose herewith a copy of a report of a reconnaissance of the position of the enemy, made from a balloon. The enemy have retired a large part of their forces to Bethel, without making any attack upon Newport News. I have nothing further of interest to report except the reception this morning of an order that Brevet Major-General Wool is directed by the President to take command of the Department of Virginia.

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

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.


AUGUST 10, 1861.

Maj. Gen. BENJ. F. BUTLER:

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 10th of August I made two ascensions, in which I attained an altitude of 3,500 feet, and made observations as follows: About 5 or 6 miles northwest of Hampton I discovered an encampment of the enemy, but owing to the misty state of the atmosphere, caused by the recent rain, I was unable to form a {p.601} correct idea of their numerical force, but should judge from 4,000 to 5,000. There were no vessels or encampments of any kind either at York or Back Rivers or at New Market Bridge. On a branch of James River, about 5 miles from Newport News, on the opposite side, there is a vessel at anchor. On the left bank of James River, about 8 or 9 miles from Newport News, is a large encampment of the enemy, from 150 to 200 tents, also an encampment in the rear of the Pig Point batteries of from 40 to 50 tents. At Norfolk two large ships of war are lying at anchor in the stream, one of which appeared all ready for sea, with sails bent, &c. No operations at Tanner’s Creek. I illustrate what I saw by the accompanying hasty diagram.* The guns which 1 discovered in a previous ascension proved to be only heavy field pieces mounted on carriages. Along the coast below Sewell’s Point no batteries or enemy were visible.

With respect,


* Not found.



HDQRS. DEP’T SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., August 17, 1861.

I. By direction of the President, the undersigned this day assumes command of the Department of Southeastern Virginia.


JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., August 18, 1861.

The President of the United States having assigned Brevet Major. General Wool to the command of this department, Major-General Butler begs in a final order to take leave of the troops lately under his command.

He is happy to acknowledge the alacrity and cheerfulness of the officers and men under duties most fatiguing and perplexing, because inactive and he only regrets that he cannot award praise to all.

He begs to make honorable mention of the uniform good conduct of the Twentieth Regiment New York Volunteers; the Union Coast Guard, under great difficulties for-want of organization, under Captain Helleday, and the corps of mounted men at Camp Hamilton; to the men and a large portion of the officers of the First New York Volunteers, who under great embarrassments have maintained the discipline and efficiency of this regiment. Especial praise is awarded to the Ninth Regiment, under Colonel Hawkins, except in a single instance, which the regiment as well as the general sincerely regrets, and which the subsequent good conduct of the regiment will entirely obliterate.

High commendation is given to Colonel Carr and the officers and true men of the Second New York Regiment, who have withstood the misrepresentations of newspapers, the appeals of partisans, politicians, and the ill-judged advice of friends at home, and the influences of bad associates, and remained loyal to the flag of their country. Very great credit is due them.


The Seventh New York Regiment, owing to the unfortunate disagreement among the officers, have not attained that efficiency in their discipline and drill which the country requires of them. The Tenth Regiment and companies of the regular artillery, being more immediately under the command of Colonel Dimick at the Fortress, are brought to the notice of the general from the favorable report of the commandant. The general’s official connection with them has been very pleasant, and he desires to bear testimony to the faithful discharge of their duty. The unattached companies of Massachusetts volunteers have by their good conduct merited approbation, and the command of Captain Davis deserves special commendation.

The general desires also to bear testimony to the ability and efficiency with which the quartermaster’s and commissary departments have been conducted.

The general takes leave of the command of the officers and soldiers of this department with the kindest feelings towards all, and with the hope that in active service upon the field they may soon signalize their bravery and gallant conduct, as they have shown their patriotism by fortitude under the fatigues of camp duty.

No personal feeling of regret intrudes itself at the change in the command of the department, by which our cause acquires the services in the field of the veteran general commanding, in whose abilities, experience, and devotion to the flag the whole country places the most implicit reliance, and under whose guidance and command all of us, and none more than your late commander, are proud to serve.

By command of Major-General Butler:

C. C. CHURCHILL, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., August 21, 1861.

Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler is hereby placed in command of the volunteer forces in this department, exclusive of those at Fort Monroe.

His present command at Camps Butler and Hamilton will include the First, Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Twentieth New York Regiments, the Battalion of Massachusetts volunteers, and the Union Coast Guard, and the Mounted Rifles.

By command of Major-General Wool:

C. C. CHURCHILL, First Lieutenant, Third Artillery, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen.



Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief:

GENERAL: Allow me to ask your attention to the condition of the troops in this garrison. Of seven companies of artillery we have but six officers. It is reported to me that seven of the artillery officers have peen appointed in the quartermaster’s and commissary departments. I have been compelled to take Captain Churchill for assistant adjutant-general. This leaves but five artillery officers. Notwithstanding, however, Captain Churchill, although his duties are exceedingly onerous, {p.603} attends to the duties of his company. From this circumstance, not finding a volunteer officer fit for the duty, I have been compelled to take Captain Raynolds, of the Topographical Engineers, for aide-de-camp, which I request may be approved. I require two more, as the assistance of Captain Raynolds is indispensable in the office of the acting assistant adjutant-general.

The Tenth New York Regiment is attached to the garrison of Fort Monroe, but are wholly unfit for the position. As soon as I can make the arrangements, I intend to exchange this regiment for another and a better one.

To operate on this coast with success (I mean between this and Florida) we want more troops. At any late, I think we ought to have a much larger force in this department. If I had 20,000 or 25,000 men, in conjunction with the Navy, we could do much on this coast to bring back from Virginia the troops of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; but the arrangements should be left to Commodore Stringham and myself. I do not think it can be done efficiently at Washington. We know better than any one at Washington attached to the Navy what we require for such expeditions.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., August 24, 1861.

I. Many of the inhabitants of Elizabeth City County complain of depredations having been committed on their property by soldiers stationed in their neighborhood. All such persons or others residing within the pale of this command, engaged in farming, cultivating their fields and gardens, tending their flocks or herds, or bringing provisions or supplies to the several camps or posts for the use of the troops, and pursuing peaceably their ordinary avocations, and who do not communicate, directly or indirectly, with the rebel forces, and who may comply with such orders as may be given them, will be protected in their persons and property. Any violation of this order by officers or soldiers, or any parties interested, will be severely punished, and those who force a safe-guard, on conviction before a court-martial, will be punished with death.

II. The attention of all who are embraced in this order, and of all others whose business brings them within the limits of this command, whether by land or water, is called to the fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh articles of war, as follows:

56. Whosoever shall relieve the enemy with money, victuals, or ammunition, or shall knowingly harbor or protect an enemy, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a court-martial.

57. Whosoever shall be convicted of holding correspondence with or giving intelligence to the enemy, either directly or indirectly, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of H court-martial.

III. No officers, soldiers, or citizens will be allowed to go out or come in by the pickets without orders from these headquarters. Persons arriving at the pickets, and wishing to come inside, will be detained until their business can be made known to these headquarters and proper permission given. This does not apply to persons bringing provisions, who are already provided with properly-signed passes.

IV. No citizens will be allowed to pass beyond Mill Creek Bridge or {p.604} to any of the camps without a pass from these headquarters or from the provost-marshal of Fort Monroe.

V. The provost-marshal’s commanding officers, and officers in charge of guards and pickets, are directed, as far as possible, to prevent any violation of this order, and in any case of its violation by officers, soldiers, or citizens, to arrest the offender, and immediately report the circumstances of the case to these headquarters.

By command of Major-General Wool:

C. C. CHURCHILL, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., September 3, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I had the honor to receive your communication of the 2d instant, in which you request all the muskets we can spare. I have directed 1,500 stand of arms to be sent, which leaves of muskets and rifles in store but 557. I will send these to you if we have, as reported, 1,000 stand at the batteries at Hatteras Inlet. These I will send for this evening, and probably they will be here in two or three days. I am apprehensive, however, that many of the latter are in a very bad condition, and will require repairs and cleaning.

With your letter I received one from Major-General Butler, in which he states that “by a unanimous vote the Cabinet approved of holding the forts at Hatteras,” which I think ought to be done, provided we can be supported by the Navy. Without the latter it could not be done without several more regiments. I shall, however, send this day for the force there, 812 rank and file, thirty-seven days’ rations for each man, and 200 32-pounder shell for fourteen 32-pounder guns. I will also send an engineer to examine the batteries and position, and to report to me what may be necessary for its defenses. I do not, however, feel authorized to do more until I receive official orders on the subject from proper authority and what is desired. It is not enough for my action in the case to be merely notified of the decision of the Cabinet, unless it is officially transmitted by proper authority. There should be no delay in the matter.

The position and batteries must be defended by both Army and Navy. As far as I am informed of what is desired by the President or Secretary of War, I will adopt measures to secure the position. To do so, however, requires two more regiments. I may do it with a less number of troops with efficient aid from the Navy. The position, as it appears, should be maintained, as I consider it the most important on the Southern coast.

In order that I may, with as little delay as possible, learn the views of the administration on so important a subject, I send this communication by Captain Raynolds, of the Topographical Engineers, who I could wish might be confirmed as aide-de-camp, with the rank of major. He has been acting in that capacity since I assumed command.

In conclusion, allow me to call your immediate attention to what is herein contained. We have a prize, and I do not wish to lose it.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., September 4, 1861.

Major-General WOOL, U. S. A., Commanding, &c., Fort Monroe, Va.:

SIR: Your letter of the 3d instant, improperly addressed to the Secretary of War, has been referred to the General-in-Chief. Besides the regiment the arrival of which is acknowledged by you the 2d instant (the Sixteenth Massachusetts), the governor of New York was requested, about a week ago, to send you three additional regiments, which may begin to arrive in a week from this date. That re-enforcement will enable you to hold your posts in Hampton Roads and in Hatteras Inlet. Your reported acts in respect to the latter are approved, over which you will continue to exercise command, consulting from time to time the naval commander in Hampton Roads, and obtaining from him such assistance as he and you may deem necessary to enable you to execute your duties.

The general suggests for your consideration whether it may not be expedient to send a company or larger detachment of regulars to serve as a basis of discipline for the principal work in Hatteras Inlet.

The above is written at the direction of Lieutenant-General Scott.

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

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., September 4, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: Colonel Butler will hand you this communication. The object is to obtain from you your views in regard to the keeping and defending the position recently captured at Hatteras Inlet. Besides vessels of war-how many I am unable to say-we have 812 rank and file at the inlet. How well they are commanded, being volunteers, I am unable to say, from the circumstance that I have not been long enough acquainted with the officers to pronounce upon their ability or efficiency to command. If the Government intends to hold the position I ought to know the fact, in order to know how to perform what may be required from the army or the troops in this department. With a sufficient number of vessels of war the present force, with the addition of some 400 or 500 rank and file, might defend the position. A communication, however, should be kept up between Fort Monroe and the inlet, not only to furnish additional troops, if required, but to supply the troops with water, provisions, and ordnance stores. For this purpose we should have two first-rate steamers, but certainly one. All the water to supply the troops must be taken from Baltimore. Some light-draught vessels of war, such as could traverse the sound, should be furnished. These should not draw more than seven feet of water-at most eight feet-and they should be armed with rifled guns. The prize is too great to be lost, but to defend it properly and securely, it will depend on the Navy. Without vessels of war it cannot be defended but by a large military force.

It is rumored by passengers from North Carolina and Virginia that the people are determined to retake it. It will be well, however, whether true or false, to be on our guard and prepared for coming events. As {p.606} I said yesterday in my communication addressed to you, “no time is to be lost” for its defense and protection.

A word now in regard to Fort Monroe and Hampton Roads, the most important position on the coast, and from which the Southern States can be menaced and assailed more effectually than from any other, and without running our heads against fortifications or masked batteries. The colonel can explain in detail.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, September 5, 1861.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding Fort Monroe, Va.:

SIR: Your letter of September 4 is received. The position at Cape Hatteras must be held, and you will adopt such measures, in connection with the Navy Department, as may be necessary to effect the object. Your letter has been referred to the Commander-in-Chief, who will give detailed instructions.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., September 6, 1861.

Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: Your letter of the 4th instant, written at the dictation of Lieutenant-General Scott, has been received this morning. The suggestion of Lieutenant-General Scott in relation to sending a company or larger detachment of regulars to serve as a basis of discipline for the principal work at Hatteras Inlet, will be acted upon as soon as practicable. It is my intention to send down a larger force to Hatteras Inlet upon the arrival of the additional regiments.

The news from North Carolina is highly favorable. It is said that the residents are coming in by hundreds to take the oath of allegiance to the Government.

I am advised this morning from Hatteras Inlet that the forts at Ocracoke and other inlets, but not Beaufort, have been abandoned by the rebels.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



Col. R. C. HAWKINS, Comdg. Ninth New York Vols. and Hatteras Inlet, N. C.:

SIR: By the steamer Spaulding you will receive five companies of your regiment the other two will be sent to you on return of the steamer. Captain Taylor, commissary of subsistence, will accompany the troops, for the purpose of making arrangements for his department, and for building a store-house, &c. Colonel Weber’s regiment will return and {p.607} also the artillery left by Captain Lamed. It is reported to me that some of the troops who landed at the inlet committed depredations on the inhabitants. You can assure the inhabitants that I will not only punish the offenders, but will see justice done them, at least to the amount taken from them, which was yesterday ordered, if it could be found, to be restored to them.

I hope you will forewarn all who may be guilty of such infamous practices, for the severest punishment awaits such conduct.

You will send by the steamer when she returns all the small-arms taken at the capture of the troops and forts.

You will report to me by return steamer the state of your command and whatever may be necessary to a right understanding of its condition, and what may be considered proper to make it all it should be for the defense of the position.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., September 13, 1861.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief:

GENERAL: On the 11th instant I reported that I sent to Hatteras Inlet one company of artillery and five companies of the Ninth Regiment New York Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Hawkins. The steamer Spaulding returned this morning with 500 men of Weber’s regiment (Germans). By this conveyance I received two reports from Colonel Hawkins, dated 7th and 11th instant, with four other papers, marked A to D. (Copies of all inclosed.) They show that an artillery officer is much wanted at Hatteras Inlet. Fortunately Brigadier-General Reynolds arrived this morning. He will proceed to-morrow with the two remaining companies of the Ninth. He will also take lumber with him to build a wharf and storehouse.

I am anxiously looking for more troops, not only for this place, but for Hatteras inlet. It is uncertain when they may be required at the latter place. We have only 300 regulars (artillery) at this place and Newport News. To fill the seven companies we require 260 recruits. We have one company of volunteer cavalry, 90 strong. Taking away 30 men, drivers, from the light battery, will for the present break up that light battery. It is said that the cavalry volunteers will soon be ordered to Washington. This will deprive me of all means to make reconnaissances beyond the pickets. Proper reconnaissances cannot be made without cavalry. Before these are taken from me I earnestly hope a squadron of the U. S. cavalry or dragoons will be sent me. I cannot get along well in this position without light artillery and cavalry. Before sending any more troops than those that will embark to-morrow to Hatteras Inlet, I will wait for a report from Brigadier-General Reynolds by the return steamer.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.


FORT CLARK, Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, September 7, 1861.

SIR: On August 30 I landed here from the fleet and took command of Fort Clark, where I still remain, with the three companies which I brought with me from Newport News.


During the afternoon of the 30th a delegation, on behalf of the citizens of this island, waited upon me, and placed in my hand a paper, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, and marked A. In answer to this communication I requested that as many of the citizens as could should meet me the next day, for the purpose of arranging terms by which they might be permitted to remain here. Agreeably to my request about thirty came to see me, and the terms contained in an oath, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, and marked B, were agreed upon. On my part I have agreed verbally to give them all the necessary protection against the vigilance committees which infest all parts of the State, and are organized for the purpose of suppressing Union sentiments and pressing men into the service of the Confederate Army, and to afford them such other protection as may appear necessary. Two hundred and fifty have taken-the oath, and they are still coming in.

I am informed by some of these people that secret Union meetings have been held in several of the counties bordering on the Pamlico Sound, and that they would openly avow themselves true to the United States Government if they were sure that they would be protected against the violence of the secessionists. It is also thought that a Union convention would be called at once, and that these counties would vote themselves back into the Union, and take up arms to defend themselves if necessary.

In view of the foregoing facts, I would suggest that a force of at least 1,000 men be scattered through one or two of the counties which are supposed to be Union in their sentiment; that the people call their convention and vote, and that the United States forces at hand afford them such protection as may be necessary. Could this be done now, I have no doubt that one-third of the State of North Carolina would be back in the Union within two weeks.

I am over-anxious that these suggestions should be acted upon at once, and that I may be allowed to continue in the work which I have commenced. These people who look to me for protection I have already taken a very deep interest in; I sympathize with them in their misfortunes, and would do anything for them in my power. I fear that if I am superseded the promises I have made will not be carried out, and that the measures I have commenced will fall to the ground.

I regret to be compelled to state to you that the conduct of the men and some of the officers of the Twentieth Regiment New York Volunteers has been that of vandals. They have plundered and destroyed. The first night they were on shore they visited one of the encampments which had been abandoned by the enemy. I am informed that this party was under the charge of three or four commissioned officers; that they first commenced breaking open trunks left behind by the officers and men who had abandoned the camp. After they had broken all the trunks and boxes open, and partly destroyed what they did not want or could not carry away, they then set fire to the buildings, and everything except a few tents was consumed. After this they went to Fort Clark, where they had a repetition of the above. By these two transactions the United States has lost a large amount of valuable property, consisting of arms, cooking utensils, medical stores, &c.

The next day they commenced breaking open private houses and stores, and I saw party after party come in, some of them headed by commissioned officers, loaded down with the results of their plundering. This conduct continued until I was compelled to adopt the most severe and stringent measures. You will see by the inclosed copies of letters, marked C and D, what I have done, and I hope it will meet with your {p.609} approval. I believe that such creatures as these will do our cause more harm than good, and that they are a disgrace to the arms they bear and the flag which is over them.


First. Roanoke Island, which commands the channel between Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, should be occupied at once. It is now held by the rebels. They have a battery completed at the northern end of the island and another in course of erection at the south end.

Second. A small force should be stationed on Beacon Island, which is in the mouth of the Ocracoke Inlet, and commands it.

Third. Two or three light-draught vessels should be stationed between the months of the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers; this would shut out all commerce from New Berne and Washington, both of which have been entrepots for privateers.

Fourth. There should be at least eight light-draught gunboats in Pamlico Sound.

Fifth. Beaufort should be occupied as soon as possible.

All of these things should be done, if at all, immediately. Seven thousand men, judiciously placed upon the soil of North Carolina, would draw 20,000 troops from the State of Virginia. I wish, if you agree with me, and if you should deem it consistent with your duty, that you would press upon the Government the importance and necessity of immediate action in this department.

If it is proper for me to report to you, you will in that event please receive this as a report.

Most faithfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS. Colonel Ninth Regiment N. Y. Volunteers, Comdg. Fort Clark.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia, Fort Monroe, Va.


FORT CLARK, Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, September 11, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report the reception of your favor of the 10th, the contents of which have been carefully noted; also the orders forwarded by Captain Taylor. For my answer, in part, I would refer you to my inclosed report of the 7th, which should have been transmitted by the steamer George Peabody.

I take great pleasure in announcing to you the continued strengthening of my belief in the loyalty of the citizens of this State who inhabit the counties bordering on the Pamlico Sound. The sincerity of the people who live upon the strip of land running from Hatteras Inlet to Oregon Inlet is not to be doubted; they have all taken the oath of allegiance, which you will perceive is a strong one, and have shown every disposition to assist me in every manner possible, such as furnishing me with supplies, giving information of the movements of the enemy, &c. I have sent three of the most intelligent of their number to the other side of the sound, for the purpose of informing the inhabitants of the real intentions of the Federal Army and ascertaining what the real feeling is among the people.

My belief is that troops could be raised here for the purpose of suppressing rebellion in North Carolina upon the assurance that they would not be called on to go out of the State. I have been unable to secure any considerable amount of property plundered from the inhabitants. That which I have been able to get hold of has been returned. I presume {p.610} that $5,000 will pay for all the property taken, and I would suggest that the Government make provision for paying it as soon as possible.

The people upon this strip of land have been peculiarly situated. Since the secession of this State their means of subsistence have been completely taken away from them, and now they are mostly without food or clothing, and in the winter, unless something can be done before, there will be great suffering among them. Cannot the Government send them flour, meat, cloth for clothing, and some shoes? Each dollar spent in such acts of charity would bring scores of friends over the whole South.

If Fort Clark is to be occupied, two of the 32-pounders should be removed, and in their place two 9-inch guns should be substituted. This would make the defense on the water side complete, and these guns could be brought to bear on the land approach. A field howitzer and one 12-pounder gun should be added to the face fronting the land. I have mounted in this fort the two 6-pounders captured from the enemy and two more loaned me by the flag-officer of the squadron, which make eight guns ready for service.

Fort Hatteras should have at least six of the 32-pounders removed, and substituted in their place at least three 9-inch guns, two 8-inch, and one rifled gun of large caliber and longest range. The number of troops to remain at each fort should be designated at once and suitable barracks built immediately for their accommodation. The soil is of sand-the tides rise very high; strong winds prevail here during the winter, and, in my belief, tents would be of no service whatever. There should be sent here, for the exclusive use of Forts Hatteras and Clark and the encampments in the immediate vicinity, a strong light-draught (say from 4 to 6 feet) steamer, with four or five substantial row-boats and one light one for the officer in command.

The sand is so deep that horses are of little or no use, and all communication and transportation must be by water. An abundant supply of fuel should also be sent without delay. I cannot see the use or necessity of holding Fort Clark. It is a mere outpost at best, and could be easily taken by surprise in the night.

Fort Hatteras, with the guns mounted as above mentioned, the Pawnee inside and one vessel with heavy guns outside, could defend itself against the combined Confederate force in the daytime. Perfect security could be gained by digging a ditch across a neck of sand to the south of the fort, and thus surrounding it completely by water.

I still adhere to all of the suggestions contained in my former report, and would most respectfully urge the importance of immediately occupying Roanoke and Beacon Islands. The ball moves too slowly; one success should follow another in quick succession.

Four prizes have been taken since our forces landed-three from Saint Martin’s, W. I., and one from Halifax, N. S. The latter had a valuable cargo of army supplies, and the three former had salt and molasses; all owned in North Carolina. The total value of vessels and cargoes is a bout $225,000.

The detachment which came here with me is in good health and spirits. The men have worked willingly and well, and have undergone all privations without a murmur.

I am, dear sir, most faithfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel Ninth Regiment N. Y. Volunteers, Commanding Forts Hatteras and Clark.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia, Fort Monroe, Va. {p.611}



DEAR SIR: We, the citizens of Cape Hatteras, do ask of your honor that you will allow us to return to our homes and property and protect us in the same as natural citizens, as we have never taken up arms against your Government, nor has it been our wish to do so. We did not help by our votes to get North Carolina out of the Union. Believing that your clemency will not allow you to treat us as rebels, who have always been loyal citizens, we do earnestly request, for the sake of our women and children, that you will comply with our wishes, as we seek protection from your honor.

Yours, very respectfully,


P. S.-Please let us know by the bearer what we can depend upon.



We, the undersigned, do solemnly swear that we will true allegiance bear to the United States of North America; that we will not take up arms against said Government, or hold any communication with its enemies, or aid or comfort its enemies in any way whatever, and that we will give to the commandant of Fort Clark any information we may obtain or receive of the approach of the enemy; and in case we are called upon we will assist the commandant of said fort in his defense thereof against any and all the enemies of the said United States of North America, and we will always, under any and all circumstances, support the Constitution of the said United States.


FORT CLARK, N. C., September 2 1861.


DEAR COLONEL: I learn with great regret that your men and others under your command still continue to commit depredations against the property of the inhabitants of this island. It seems that they pass from the fort, over which you have command, to the land above by boats. This must and shall stop. These people are worthy, loyal citizens, and have taken the oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and they ought to and shall be protected in their rights of property and person, and I shall in future use all the power under my control to see that they are protected. This passage by boats must cease from this date, and if it cannot be prevented by any other means, I shall use my artillery against all the boats I may see pass. I have promised these people protection, and intend to keep my promise good.

Yours, very truly,

RUSH. C. HAWKINS. Colonel, Commanding.


FORT HATTERAS, N. C., September 3, 1861.


DEAR COLONEL: In reply to your letter of yesterday I have to state that I am just as much displeased as you are when any of the troops {p.612} under my command commit wanton destruction of property or depredations against the inhabitants of the island, for you may be sure that I dislike and hate those plunderings and destructions just as much as any one can do, and think them perfectly unworthy a soldier; but I wish you had informed me of these facts in a more friendly way than you have done. Your last remark-to fire with artillery against the boats before you received even an answer to your letter-sounds almost offensive, and seems to indicate that I agreed with those disorders.

Allow me, therefore, to explain to you my orders concerning these boats:

First. No boat can leave without my permission and an officer to accompany it, and only for a certain purpose.

Second. Every boat returning is searched by the adjutant.

Third. The reasons for dispatching boats are: To get water, boards, and some cooking apparatus, because we have none, and meat, &c., for me and the officers, which we gave receipts for. We have but four barrels of water, and officers as well as men have to cook with salt water. We have no barracks and but few tents, and most of us have to sleep without shelter. Though General Butler told me to make requisitions for all I wanted, I have not done so, because I expect a steamer from Fort Monroe. You see, colonel, till then I cannot stop these expeditions to the island, but if your pickets will watch them, you will greatly oblige me. I remark on every passport for what purpose they are sent. Trespassers please deliver to me, and I shall punish them severely.

I think our condition and responsibility require us to support each other as much as possible in case of an attack of the enemy, as well as in providing for the troops of our command.

MAX WEBER, Colonel, Commanding Fort Hatteras.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., September 14, 1861.

Brig. Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C-:

GENERAL: I have this moment received your communication of the 12th instant, directing four artillery companies to Washington-the four companies about 200 strong-leaving one company in Fort Monroe, one at Newport News, and one at Hatteras Inlet, about 50 strong. We are thus, as you perceive, left with only about 130 regular artillery for Fort Monroe and Newport News, the most important post on the coast and the key to all the States south. It would appear that you sent the letter by an officer, who transferred it to Captain Stringham’s secretary, who staid a night in Baltimore, and consequently delayed its reception one day.

At the same time I received a letter, dated the 12th, from headquarters, ordering Brigadier-General Reynolds, now at this post, to repair to the Army of the Potomac.

I also received a letter from Major-General Dix, containing the names of fifteen persons taken into custody by order of the Government, and “transferred to this post for safe-keeping,” with the directions of the Secretary of War “to keep them in close custody, suffering no one to communicate with them, and to Convey them at once to Fort Monroe, there to remain in close custody until they shall be forwarded to their ultimate destination.”


I am compelled to postpone sending supplies and men to Hatteras Inlet until the return of the steamer from Baltimore. She was engaged to go to Hatteras. I can send no men in addition to what have been sent and are now at the inlet-say 760 men.

In conclusion. I have only to remark that Fort Monroe and Newport News ought to be re enforced. The force we have is not sufficient to defend both positions if seriously attacked.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-. General.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, D. C., September 16, 1861.

Lieutenant-General SCOTT:

MY DEAR SIR: Since conversing with you I have concluded to request you to frame an order for recruiting North Carolinians at Fort Hatteras. I suggest it be so framed as for us to accept a smaller force-even a company-if we cannot get a regiment or more. What is necessary to now say about officers, you will judge. Governor Seward says he has a nephew (Clarence A. Seward, I believe) who would be willing to go and play colonel and assist in raising the force. Still, it is to be considered whether the North Carolinians will not prefer officers of their own. I should expect they would.

Yours, very truly,




WAR DEPARTMENT, A. G. O., Washington, September 17, 1861.

The commanding officer of the U. S. forces at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, is authorized to accept the services of such loyal North Carolinians, not to exceed one regiment, as in his neighborhood may volunteer to take up arms for the United States, and to designate a regular officer to muster them into service.

The recruits will be organized, in the first instance, into a battalion, or regiment, according to numbers. The mustering officer will make timely requisitions for arms and other necessary supplies, and the commanding officer will, on the recommendation of the volunteers, propose such persons as he may deem suitable to officer the companies, battalion, or regiment, that they may, if approved, be commissioned by the President.

By order:

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.



Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: The bearer, Colonel Cannon, my aide-de-camp, will hand you this note. He can give you much information in regard to my present position.

Excepting about one hundred artillery, all my regular troops have been ordered to Washington, except one company at Hatteras Inlet. I {p.614} intended to send more men to Hatteras, but have withheld them because of my regular troops having been withdrawn to Washington.

I would be much gratified if you would tell me what I am to do with the negro slaves that are almost daily arriving at this post from the interior. Am I to find food and shelter for the women and children, who can do nothing for themselves? Thus far we have been able to employ in various ways most of the adults. It appears to me some positive instructions should be given in regard to what shall be done for the number that will be accumulated in and-about this post during the approaching winter. I hope you will give me instructions on this very important subject. Humanity requires that they should be taken care of.

I am now almost without cavalry or artillery. Without both, and particularly the former, no efficient reconnaissances can be made against the rebels.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States:

SIR: The bearer of this letter, Colonel Cannon, has been acting on my staff as aide-de-camp for about two weeks. From his ability and opportunity for information, he has become familiar with many important questions relating to this department, and will be able to explain various circumstances connected with it that concern the public service, and for this purpose he goes by my direction to Washington. Among the topics to which I would again respectfully invite your attention through him is the necessity for additional aides, in regard to which I had the honor to address you yesterday. Major Cannon will explain to you the case of Lieutenant Harris, whom you appointed aide-de-camp on my recommendation, yet the appointment is withheld at the Ordinance Bureau as I am informed, to my very serious inconvenience, having no regular officer as an aide.

The state prisoners arrested in Baltimore (the mayor and others) have been here for several days in close custody without any direct authority or instructions from the Government, the only official communication to me on this subject being an extract from a letter addressed to General Dix and sent me by the latter. I have written to the Secretary of War in regard to them but have received no reply. Major Cannon can explain fully their condition, and the difficulty I have in keeping their safely, from the crowded state of the fort, without injury to their health from insufficient air and ventilation. Major Cannon can also explain fully my situation as to the force at my disposal. The regular troops have nearly all been withdrawn to Washington, and about 1,000 men, barely sufficient for the purpose, have been sent to Hatteras Inlet from this command, reducing the force at this post, the most important position on the Atlantic coast, to so low a point as to put it out of my power to make any forward movement, and almost invite an attack from the enemy.

It was my intention to have sent more troops to Hatteras but in consequence of the reduction above referred to I have been precluded from doing so.


Major Cannon can give more full and clear explanations on the above and other points of public interest, for which I respectfully refer you to him.

With considerations of high respect, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, September 20, 1861.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding, Fort Monroe, Va:

GENERAL: Your communications of the 17th * and 18th are received. In regard to the letters sent or received by flags of truce, I would suggest that for the present they be examined by volunteer officers whom you might detail for that purpose. I would much prefer that this examination should be made under the direction of the Post-Office Department, and will endeavor to effect some arrangement that will relieve you from this labor.

I am also informed by the Adjutant-General that he has already sent you two aides-de-camp. Ordnance officers are much needed, and for this reason I cannot consent to the appointment of Lieutenant Harris as your aide, unless it is absolutely necessary that you should have his services in that capacity. I send herewith the appointment of William P. Jones as an aide, in accordance with your recommendation. Captain Whipple has been assigned to you as assistant adjutant-general.

The state prisoners now in your custody should be sent at once to Fort Lafayette, New York Harbor. You will, as early as practicable, send to General McClellan at this place all negro men capable of performing labor, accompanied by their families. They can be usefully employed on the military works in this vicinity.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

* Not found.



Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have received this morning your communication of the 20th instant. In regard to the examination of letters by flags of truce I would state that I have no volunteer officers to spare for this duty, and none that would perform it efficiently. I have received a letter from the Assistant Postmaster-General on this subject approving of their transmission to the Post-Office Department. As I have 1,500 letters waiting examination I shall, without attempting to examine them, await instructions from the Postmaster-General.

The two aides whom I suppose you refer to as sent me by the Adjutant-General are my personal friends, who came here to relieve me, at my request, when I was without assistance and pressed by a heavy official correspondence in addition to my other duties. They have declined pay or emoluments, and bear their own expenses, thus making no charge to the Government. They are distinguished for capability, efficiency, and promptness, but I may be deprived of the relief they {p.616} afford me at any time when other duties compel them to return, as these gentlemen informed me when I asked their aid.

I make this explanation in reference to my present or future applications for additional aides. I have no officer of the Regular Army as aide, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cram, ordered here on duty as topographical engineer, is willing to perform that duty, and act also as my aide. I shall therefore ask the President that Major Cram, who is probably lieutenant-colonel by his seniors being retired, be appointed aide, with the rank of colonel, as it seems there is no other officer of the Army available for this position, and his ability and long service will render him especially useful to me. I understood from Colonel Cannon that you were willing to assent to this arrangement.

I am only awaiting the arrival of a steamer to forward the State prisoners here to Fort Lafayette, and expect they will leave to-morrow or Tuesday.

I have called for an immediate report from the proper officers as to the negroes here, in reference to General McClellan’s request, which will be ready in a day or two, and I shall then forward as many as can be spared from the public works in progress at this post and upon which they are engaged, viz: A new redoubt, railroad and other roads, bridges, &c.

I would again repeat that I have here but one permanent aide, Captain Jay, a civilian; the other two, Messrs. Cannon and Hamilton, whose services are purely gratuitous, will probably be called away shortly, and I shall then have but two civilians, Major Jones and Captain Jay, and with the aid of all these gentlemen, and the volunteer services of Lieutenant-Colonel Cram in addition, I am occupied from 5 o’clock in the morning until 9 or 10 in the evening, and sometimes later, in the discharge of the multifarious duties that devolve upon me, incident from the peculiar position of this department.

In conclusion, I would remark that I have just received dispatches from Hatteras Inlet. I think they are of sufficient importance to claim your immediate attention. I have inclosed copies to Lieutenant-General Scott.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief:

GENERAL: I herewith transmit two communications from Colonel Hawkins, commanding at Hatteras Inlet, dated 19th and 21st September, 1861.

I would commend them to your special attention. I could hope that you will be able to furnish me with more troops in order that the important position of the inlet may be preserved. Several tug-boats of light draught will be sent down as soon as the weather will permit.

I am about to send down two companies, but will wait until I hear from you.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



WAR DEPARTMENT, September 24, 1861.

General SCOTT:

Two regiments leave Baltimore for Fort Monroe September 24, p.m. The Navy Department, I presume, will furnish boats as desired.

Yours, respectfully,

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

HEADQUARTERS FORT CLARK, Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, September 19, 1861.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia, Fort Monroe, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor to report that your communication of the 18th ultimo is at hand and contents duly noted.

On the 12th instant I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Betts to take four companies of my regiment and proceed 2 miles up the west side of the island and there to establish a camp. My reasons for this step were that I had no place for them elsewhere. I wanted an advance post, for the purpose of checking any approach of the enemy by land, securing good water, and a healthy location. A picket is thrown out some 2 miles beyond this camp, thus bringing under my immediate observation and control some 6 miles of the lower end of the island. This camp, in honor of yourself, has been named Camp Wool.

On the 15th instant I learned through one of the citizens that the enemy were carrying off the guns from Beacon Island. On the morning of the 16th instant an expedition, consisting in part of the Union Coast Guard, under the charge of Lieutenants Rowe and Patten, and a detachment from the crew of the steamer Pawnee, under the charge of Lieutenant Maxwell, U. S. Navy, the whole under the command of Lieutenant Eastman, of the steamer Pawnee, embarked on board the steamer Fanny and one of the launches belonging to the Pawnee, and proceeded immediately to Beacon Island, where they found a large battery, mounting twenty-two guns, four of which had been taken away the day previous on the steamer Washington to New Berne. Eighteen guns still remained, four 8-inch navy guns and fourteen navy 32s, all of which were destroyed and left in a perfectly useless condition by the men under the charge of Lieutenant Eastman. A boat’s crew of the expedition then proceeded to the town of Portsmouth, where they found four more guns, one mounted and three buried in the sand on the beach. These were also destroyed.

The bomb proofs at the battery, four in number, were then destroyed. All the wood work of the battery, together within a large pile of lumber, was then burned. A light-ship, which had been towed from its moorings by the rebels, with the intention of taking it to Washington, was also burned. The expedition then returned, bringing with it some eighty shells taken from the battery.

While deprecating the loss of property, I rejoice in the belief that we have with little expense and labor inflicted another most serious blow upon the enemy, and too much credit cannot be awarded to the officers and men composing this expedition.

I am more and more confirmed in my belief of the entire loyalty of the people of this part of the State. Doubtless as you approach the {p.618} interior you will find a greater number of secessionists. The three men mentioned in my former report have returned from the opposite shore, bringing the information that the citizens who were frightened from their homes when they heard that our forces had landed have returned, and that their recent voice is for peace under the old Government. Secret meetings have been held at a place called Middletown, and they have resolved to allow our forces to land without molestation if we will come in a force strong enough to protect them from the vigilance committees. Meetings, I believe, have been held in other towns, but owing to the secret manner in which they were conducted, I have not been able to learn what has been done at either of them.

In order to counteract the falsehoods so industriously circulated by the rebels I have issued a communication, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, and marked A. Copies have been sent to all the principal towns in the State in such a manner that I am confident that many of them will reach their destination.

I am daily in receipt of information, the most of which I believe to be correct. The following is a summary of all I have received since my last report:

1st. Since the taking of Hatteras, Fort Macon has been roofed with railroad iron, new guns added, and largely re-enforced. The town of Beaufort is now occupied by a large force; I believe that there are about 1,500 men at the fort and about 3 000 in and about the town.

2d. Fifteen vessels have-been sunk in the Neuse River, below New Berne. The fort or battery below the town of New Berne has been strengthened and new guns added; at the town there are two regiments of infantry, two or three squadrons of horse, and a section of artillery.

3d. Pamlico River has had a row of piles driven across it some 8 or 10 miles below the town of Washington; a small body of troops are stationed at this town.

4th. Roanoke Island has but one battery, instead of two, mounting seventeen guns, and a garrison of 2,200 men, and 800 more are expected there to-day from Norfolk.

5th. Norfolk has no protection in the rear and a very small force in the town.

Information has been received that some 2,500 of the troops at Roanoke Island and to arrive are within the next fifty hours going to try to effect a landing on this island some 38 miles above here. Their intention is to blow up the light-house on Cape Hatteras, and then to attack Fort Clark, burn villages, carry off the loyal inhabitants, &c. I am only waiting for further intelligence, which will determine my course. Should I be confirmed in the belief that the last above-mentioned information is correct, I shall meet the rebels when they attempt to land with a force of 700 on shore, and the steamer Fanny, with three ship’s launches, on the water, carrying 200 men and five guns.

I do most sincerely trust that you will urge upon the Government the great and important necessity of taking Roanoke Island and occupying it immediately, so as to enable us to control the commerce of both sounds, Albemarle and Pamlico; also the great necessity of six or eight gunboats, not drawing over 7 1/2 feet of water. Without them we are almost helpless on the waters of these sounds; with them we could totally annihilate all water communication between the States of Virginia and North Carolina and between the seacoast and main-land, and prevent any landing of troops on the island.

My present force, including officers and men, amounts to 946. I consider Fort Clark at best but little protection against land forces. A {p.619} determined storming party of 1,000 men could carry it against any resistance 1 could make with my present force. I should then retreat to Fort Hatteras, which, with the aid of the ships, could be defended against the assault of a very large force.

Should the Government send gunboats and 10,000 men, I would then recommend that Roanoke Island should be taken and held and that an advance should be made towards New Berne. Beaufort might be taken by storm, but Fort Macon would have to be taken by regular approaches; this, of course, would take a larger number of men than could be sent here at present.

If it is decided to hold Fort Clark, a considerable amount of timber should be sent here to support the sides of a ditch, which should be made at once. A large amount of work should be done upon this fort, and I only await the arrival of material and your orders to commence. The store-houses and barracks to be built at Fort Hatteras should be commenced at once. This will also take a large amount of timber, which should be sent immediately. With Roanoke Island in our possession, it will not be necessary to have any considerable force at this point. One vessel inside and another outside, with men enough to man the guns of the forts, will constitute a sufficient force to hold the fort against all comers the rebels can bring.

You can rest assured that no effort on my part will be neglected for our proper protection.

I am, most faithfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel Ninth Regiment N. Y. Volunteers, Commanding Post.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HEADQUARTERS FORT CLARK, Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, September 21, 1861-12 m.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Comdg. Dep’t of Virginia, &c., Fortress Monroe, Va.:

SIR: Two very intelligent fugitive apprentices have just arrived from Roanoke Island, where they have lived for the last eight years with one Samuel Jarvis; they seem to be quite intelligent and honest, and are well known to some of the citizens here.

According to their account there are at this time 1,500 troops on the island: 1,400 Georgians and 100 North Carolinians. The latter were formerly at Oregon Inlet. One thousand more North Carolina troops were to land there yesterday from Norfolk, and more are expected every day, until their whole number will amount to 8,000; then they are to land, hang the people who have taken the oath of allegiance, blow up the light-house, and retake the forts.

General Smith, of Georgia, is in command of the post, and Colonel Wright, of the same State, in command of the largest battery. These officers have frequent intercourse with Mr. Jarvis, who is an ardent secessionist, and communicates his views freely to his family in the presence of his servants. The above is what he has been heard to say within the last three days.

The rebels have six or seven small tug-boats and about twenty barges or flats at the island. This would seem to indicate that they intend to effect a landing somewhere; and where can it be if not at the point designated in my report of yesterday?

To-night I shall start for Chicamacomico for the purpose of selecting a suitable ground for a camp, after which I shall return and send up {p.620} all the force I have to spare, with two pieces of artillery. This force will be encamped there permanently, unless otherwise ordered by yourself. I know that there is great objection to separating so small a command as mine, but these people, who have taken the oath of allegiance, must be protected, though at the cost of every life under my command. What may not be said of a government which is too weak or unwilling to protect its own loyal subjects against its own rebels?

The inclosed outline will give you an idea of how the rebels are situated and the location of their batteries, drawn from information which I am quite sure must be correct.

I hope you will send me at least 1,000 men within the next four or five days, and one or two rifled guns, if you have them to spare. I should prefer if possible that you send me no Germans.

Trusting that the Government may soon become alive to the fact that Roanoke Island is a point of some importance, I remain, most faithfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel Ninth Regiment N. Y. Volunteers, Commanding Post.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., October 5, 1861.

Brig. Gen. Jos. K. F. Mansfield will proceed to Hatteras Inlet in the steamer Spaulding, which leaves here for that place to-day. Upon his arrival General Mansfield will assume command and make such disposition of the forces as may be necessary for the defense of the place.

He will make, a report to these headquarters by return of steamer.

By command of Major-General Wool:

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-General.



Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief:

GENERAL: Permit me to call your earnest attention to the condition of this most important position in the possession of the Federal Government. You made the remark when I conversed with you on the subject that the loss of Fort Monroe would be the loss of the Union. I mentioned to you that I had not more than enough of artillerists to man ten guns. I also mentioned the few men detained of the four companies recently ordered to Washington were necessary to aid in instructing volunteers for artillery service.

I also mentioned to you that Newport News was threatened by the Confederates, in order to aid in getting to sea two steamers in James River, and also the Merrimac at Norfolk. This ship is constructed to resist cannon shot. I have this morning seen the flag-officer in the Roads (Goldsborough), who more than confirms all that I have said on the subject, and that it is settled that an attempt will be very soon made to get these vessels to sea. In order to facilitate this movement an attempt will be made to get possession of Newport News. We have guns, but not artillerists sufficient to man them, at New port News. I hope you will at once send back the four companies of artillery recently sent to Washington. If you do not send us these, or some other companies of artillery to supply their places, I trust you will not hold me {p.621} responsible for any disaster that may befall us at Newport News. The danger, I assure you, is imminent. This subject I presented to the President in Cabinet council, when I assured them of the intentions of the rebels, and that it was their design to attack Newport News, and, as it was reported, very soon. The flag-officer is satisfied that such will be the case. He says there is no mistake as to their intentions. He further expresses his apprehension that they will succeed in capturing Newport News and that the steamers may get to sea. He also says the Merrimac is so constructed that no cannon shot can make an impression upon her.

If it is the intention of the Government to strengthen my position and the Navy, no time is to be lost. Why should this position, more important than Washington, be left as it is, without means of defense If from this fact any injury should result from it, it might prove no less fatal to the Union than to the administration. I send this by Major Jones.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief:

You have been informed of the disgraceful surrender of the Fanny at Hatteras Inlet. Apprehensive that Colonel Hawkins had committed a great error in placing his troops at so great a distance from his batteries, I regretted extremely the withdrawal of Brigadier-General Reynolds. I am not without apprehension that we shall hear of further disasters, as the Pawnee has been withdrawn, leaving a very limited naval force, upon which we placed our main reliance for protecting our batteries. I shall send with Brigadier-General Mansfield 500 troops. The force on his arrival at Hatteras will exceed 2,000, and be sufficient to protect and defend the batteries and stores until I can learn what force will be sufficient to maintain the position. It will be unfortunate, indeed, if we lose Hatteras Inlet and Newport News, and from present appearances both are in danger.

I have received an order from the Secretary of War to send the officers and men of the four companies of artillery recently sent to Washington. These men in part are used for the instructing of volunteers for artillery service. As soon as these men can be used at the guns I will send those men to Washington.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.

P. S.-We want more regiments. I only ask that you will give me a sufficient number of troops to defend this place. The enemy have been re-enforcing their troops.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, October 8, 1861.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, U. S. A., Commanding, &c., Fort Monroe, Va.:

SIR: The General-in-Chief directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters of the 6th instant, and to say in reply that the Tenth {p.622} Maine Regiment has this day been ordered to Fort Monroe, and that to-morrow about 200 sailors, skilled as artillerists, will be sent down. Several companies of volunteers drilled as artillerists will also be sent to you, as soon as they can be made ready, under the orders of the War Department.

It is the desire of the Navy Department, in which the Secretary of War and the General-in-Chief concur, that you put the Ripraps in the hands of the Navy, giving them charge of the guns and batteries there, and they will be responsible for the defense of the work and the channels commanded by it, of course under your general command.

It is probable the Navy Department will soon have such a number of men at the Ripraps as will enable the naval commander to detach, on your request, small parties to aid you in making up expeditions, when they may be deemed advisable.

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

B. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.



Brig. Gen. THOMAS WILLIAMS, Fort Monroe, Va.:

SIR: The major-general commanding the department directs that you repair to Hatteras Inlet, relieve Brigadier-General Mansfield, and assume command of the troops in that neighborhood and in North Carolina. In directing the military operations in that quarter you cannot be too careful to guard against being surprised by the enemy, and in all cases to treat the people it would appear are favorable to the preservation of the Union with care and kindness, and protect all who will take the oath of allegiance.

It is unnecessary to say that you will be careful, in establishing your encampments, not to separate your regiments too far from each other, at least not beyond supporting distances. As soon as you can you will not fail to send a special report of the condition of the troops and conduct of those who preceded General Mansfield, and to report how it happened that the Fanny was so disgracefully surrendered to the enemy, and the losses sustained by the Government.

We have not yet received any returns from the regiments nor any reports of their condition. These will receive your attention as soon as practicable, and you will transmit such reports and returns to these headquarters.

In conclusion, you will do all in your power to protect the inlet, and report all that you may deem necessary for that purpose.

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

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, Va., October 11, 1861.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief:

GENERAL: Herewith I have the honor to transmit two reports, one from Brigadier-General Mansfield and the other from Col. R. C. Hawkins, of the Ninth Regiment New York Volunteers. The colonel, to vindicate his bad management in sending the Indiana regiment, commanded {p.623} by Colonel Brown, out of supporting distance, endeavors to throw the whole blame on the Federal Government. His language is highly insubordinate, and which I shall not fail to treat in a proper manner.

By Brigadier-General Mansfield’s letter you will perceive we have a very small naval force at the inlet. He requires several light-draught vessels of war for the sound.

In consequence of the loss of clothing, camp equipage, ammunition, &c., large requisitions have been made to supply losses of the Twentieth Indiana Regiment. Clothing we have not on hand to issue. We have a large number of men greatly in want of clothing at Camps Hamilton and Butler. Many men parade with only drawers and shirts. I have again and again urged the Quartermaster-General to send us clothing. He, however, has it not on hand.

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

JOHN B. WOOL, Major-General.

P. S.-I shall dispatch the Spaulding as soon as possible with such supplies as we have. I also send a letter from General Mansfield, of the 10th instant.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

HEADQUARTERS, FORT CLARK, Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, October 8, 1861.

SIR: The reason of not having the post report, it was impossible to get any report of the Twentieth Indiana Regiment. They arrived at this post on September 28, but did not leave the steamer until they embarked on the boats for Chicamacomico. The colonel commanding the post sent a report from Colonel Brown. Unfortunately the tug Fanny was captured and the messenger made a prisoner. Colonel Brown, with his command, retreated to this place (Fort Clark), arriving here on October 5, and I have not yet had a morning report of the regiment. The adjutant informed me that they had lost their roll-books, and that they did not even know the names of the men composing their companies, and that he should have to make out new ones. Supposing you did not wish an incomplete return of the troops at this post, I have delayed until a perfect return could be made. At the same time there has not been any means of sending them, even had they been ready. According to the instructions on the regimental return, the return should not be sent to headquarters until completed (see note 4, on the face of the return).

One reason why I made no report of the capture of the Fanny was this: Captain Rowan said he should not call at Fort Monroe, but proceed immediately to Washington. Another reason was, I could not get at the truth relating to her capture; consequently did not wish to make any report until I could make one the truth of which could be relied upon.

It is evident to me, from the tone of your letter of the 6th instant, that a change in your feelings towards me has taken place. I do not wish to know the reason for the change nor do I ask it. I suppose that I shall be blamed for the recent disaster at this post. If such is the case, I have only to say that I am ready, eager, and willing to go before the country and give all the particulars in relation to my course since I have been in command at this post, and then let the people judge between me and the criminal neglect of the Government in not heeding my suggestions.


If I have within me any part of my nature which is good, it has all been brought to bear in this cause. I entered it because I wished to punish those people who were trying to destroy our Government. I was willing to sacrifice life and everything else, if necessary, in the performance of may duty, without honor or reward. I was willing to work without pay and to undergo any hardships which the service could impose upon me. But how different is the feeling now. I feel that I have an ungrateful and unappreciating Government at my back, which cannot or cares not to discern the difference between those of its servants who have its interests truly at heart and those who work for pay only.

Sending a new commanding officer here to step into my shoes, after all the dirty work has been done, to supersede me, indicates that all confidence in my ability has been lost. This touches my pride. Next to doubting my integrity this is the most tender point in my nature, and now I have only to say that if by return mail you should inform me that you will accept my resignation, I will send it at once. One word more and I have done. I do not seek promotion. Brigadier-generals are made of such queer stuff nowadays, that I should not esteem it any very great honor to be made one. I had supposed, when I entered the service, that, if I should live to the end of my term, I might come out a very respectable colonel, but nothing more.

With great consideration and respect, I remain, your most faithful servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel Ninth Regiment New York Volunteers.

Maj. Gen. JOHN B. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia, Fort Monroe, Va.


Colonel Hawkins’ remarks in relation to the Government are highly insubordinate, and ought not to pass unnoticed.

JOHN B. WOOL, Major-General.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HEADQUARTERS, FORT HATTERAS, Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, October 8, 1861.

SIR: After leaving you on the afternoon of the 6th instant we proceeded in the steamer Spaulding without accident, and arrived at Fort Hatteras on the 7th at 8.30 a.m. I learned on my arrival that the Twentieth Indiana Regiment had fallen back before the enemy from Chicamacomico to this inlet. The circumstances were as follows:

The day after the loss of the steamer Fanny Colonel Brown sent to Fort Hatteras his sick and extra baggage. On the 3d instant (Thursday last) the steam-tugs Putnam and Ceres arrived at Chicamacomico with five days’ supply of provisions, which they landed immediately and returned to Fort Hatteras. On Friday the camp was approached by a fleet of some nine steamers and sail vessels, besides flats, with the intent to land south of the camp and cut off the command from Hatteras. The command of Col. W. L. Brown, being but seven companies-say 500 strong-and the enemy supposed to be at least 2,000 strong, Colonel Brown immediately, by orders received from Col. R. C. Hawkins at that moment, took up his line of march on the east beach for Hatteras lighthouse, when he was met by Colonel Hawkins, with his command, and {p.625} finally the whole command fell back to this station, with a loss on the part of Colonel Brown of 3 sergeants, 2 corporals, and 24 men, stragglers. He sent back a party to burn and destroy his camp, which was supposed to be partially done, and fell into the hands of the enemy.

On the afternoon of yesterday I visited Fort Clark-say 1 mile northward of this fort-and continued still farther northward, to Camp Wool-say 4 miles-and thence 3 miles farther northward, to our last picket-say 7 miles from this fort. I inclose orders I have given, Nos. 1 and 2.* The enemy, if they have not retreated to Roanoke Island, must be some 30 or 40 miles off. I shall, at all events, hold the position we now occupy. Our pickets have a full view of the balled or sand beach to the light-house. We have within our present limits abundant wood and water; but we should have the command of this sound (Pamlico), which we have not, for want of suitable small steamers, drawing from 3 to 5 feet of water. The only naval force now here is the Stars and Stripes, five guns, drawing 9 feet of water; the General Putnam and Ceres, of two guns each, drawing G feet each. I was surprised last evening to find that the Susquehanna and Monticello had left for the North before dark. We have now no vessel outside to watch the march of troops down the beach to attack our front. We can hold the woods on the west side of the peninsula, but about half the breadth of the peninsula, from our pickets to Fort Clark, is sand beach, 1,000 yards wide, and difficult to defend with our small force.

I will thank you to order by the next steamer for this place the articles mentioned in the memorandum herewith, and proper receipts will be returned. I am much pressed for time at this moment.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. K. F. MANSFIELD, Brigadier. General, U. S. Army, &c., Commanding.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia, &c.

P. S.-I inclose the reports of Colonel Brown to Colonel Hawkins and Colonel Hawkins’ report to me, on the subject of the loss of the Fanny by capture, and the return of the Twentieth Indiana Regiment.**

* Not found.

** Not found. The aggregate captured was 28.


This report is worthy of attention.

JOHN B. WOOL, Major-General.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

FORT HATTERAS, Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, October 10, 1861.

SIR: The steamer will probably be able to go to sea to-day, in about an hour. I have only time to say to you that the troops-say the Twentieth Indiana Regiment-are suffering for want of clothing, blankets, shoes, tents, &c. There should be a large supply of lumber for huts, consisting of 4 by 4 joists, 2 by 4 joists, and boards and shingles. Shingle-nails are much wanted, and all the articles on the requisitions. We should have some dozen hand-carts, for the men to move their provisions by hand over this sandy beach to their camps, &c. {p.626}

The weather has been intolerable, and the exposures have been great. There are 90 sick of the Twentieth Regiment, and 136 sick in all.

If you can spare the lieutenant of the Ninth Regiment from your office he should be with his regiment. We want a post quartermaster, and I shall have to make a detail from the volunteers.

There is a great deal to be done here to insure a safe position. It was reported that the enemy had landed in force at Chicamacomico, and that his steamers were off that shore. We will soon find that out.

We have now the following tugs: The Underwriter, arrived on the 8th, the General Putnam, and the Ceres. The Tempest is out of order, and will be towed to Old Point when the weather will permit.

I have no time to write more now.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. K. F. MANSFIELD, Brigadier-General, &c., Commanding.

Maj. Gen. JOHN B. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia, &c.



Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, Washington, D. C.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I am this morning just from Hatteras Inlet. I was there just one week, having left here on Sunday. Yesterday morning the steamer Spaulding arrived at Fort Hatteras with Brigadier-General Williams, who relieved nine yesterday, and at 4 p.m. I left Fort Hatteras, and got here at 6.30 a.m.

At Fort Hatteras I made a report to General Wool of the retreat of the Twentieth Indiana Regiment (seven companies) from their advanced position of 40 miles northward. Under the circumstances, Colonel Brown probably did well. No guns were fired by him at the enemy nor was he attacked. We lost some stragglers on the road; not a man killed, that I have heard of, except an old inhabitant shot by the rebels.

I do not understand the report of the Navy in this matter. The rebels had landed only about 500 out of about 2,000 supposed to be on board their fleet of 9 steamers and vessels, besides flats, that approached the landing. I did not learn that a vessel of the rebels was taken or sunk or that a man was killed by the shells from the ship of war. I did hear that they carried off all the small fishing vessels belonging to the inhabitants.

The command at Hatteras Inlet is now all well, and I presume no attack will be attempted on it. The two regiments have about 1,900 men, and are well posted at Fort Clark and Camp Wool, and with the shipping and the artillery of Fort Hatteras could repel an attack of 5,000 with ease.

This position is no base for operations into the interior. All such commands, unless very strong, would be exposed to be cut off from supplies, and it is a circuitous route. There would be no object in disturbing a few little towns and robbing them, thereby making the people inimical. I have recommended improvements at Fort Clark. The two regiments are good and pretty well drilled, and with some target practice will do well. It is not improbable on an emergency that the Ninth New York could be spared from this place, protected as it is by the naval tugs. I will remark here that the tugs draw too much water and cannot effectually {p.627} navigate the sound. They can all, however, move outside, and with their guns afford great defense by taking in flank any force that might approach from the northward, the only place they can advance on the inlet by land. I consider the inlet extremely well protected, as it is but twelve hours’ steaming from Fort Monroe.

At high water the sea comes up to the exterior slope of the parapet of Fort Hatteras, so as to leave but a circular sand ridge dry towards Fort Clark.

I had the pleasure to escort Mrs. Butler and her daughter from Baltimore, and received your note. Mrs. Butler went to Norfolk the day of our arrival here.

A regiment has just arrived here, by order, from New York, and has gone into camp to await further orders. It is from Rhode Island, and its further destination is not known here. It was taken on board at Fort Hamilton, New York.

I believe I have given you all the information in this quarter that is material. General Wool assigns me to-day to the command of a brigade over the bridge. I shall endeavor to do my duty there till required at some duty I can do better.

I trust this will find you well, and may God spare your life for your country’s good and a blessed future!

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



WASHINGTON, October 30, 1861.

Maj. Gen. JOHN B. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia, Fort Monroe, Va.:

SIR: On receipt of your letter I requested the Chief of Ordnance to forward from 300,000 to 500,000 rounds of ammunition for small-arms, as desired. He informs me this morning that 2,550,000 rounds have been ordered from Watervliet Arsenal, October 28, and shipped to the commanding officer of the arsenal at Fort Monroe.

Very respectfully, yours,

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, November 6, 1861.

Maj. Gen. JOHN B. WOOL, Commanding Department of Virginia:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 5th to the Secretary of War, with its inclosures, is received, and I have been instructed to reply to it.

There are many political considerations of extreme importance which, in the opinion of the President, render it inexpedient to abandon our position at Hatteras Inlet. In a military point of view it is important to hold it, both to preserve our prestige and to maintain a base for ulterior operations projected in that direction. I have carefully studied the ground from the charts of the Coast Survey, with the assistance of Colonel Woodbury, of the Engineers, and the two gentlemen of the Coast Survey who were employed in the surveys of that region. From the information thus obtained, and from my own experience in similar {p.628} situations, I am led to believe that the late storm was one of unusual severity, and that similar effects are not likely to be produced for a long interval of time. There is a possibility that the cut between the two forts may soon be closed by the operation of natural causes, and if it remains open, the point on which Fort Hatteras stands may remain an island instead of being entirely washed away, as General Williams seems to anticipate. If it remains an island, I would suggest that measures be taken to prevent the washing away of its site in ordinary weather by means akin to those used in protecting the dikes of Holland. If the point should be entirely washed away, it will then be necessary to select a new position for our batteries.

The accompanying tracing will serve to explain the views I entertain as to the disposition of the troops and the arrangements that should be made to resist an attack coming from the direction of the light-house.

I would suggest that a line of defenses be thrown across the narrow neck near the head of Duncan’s Creek. By using abatis and stockades freely no great amount of earthwork need be done. A few guns placed in battery there will effectually cover the approaches by land.

From the description I have received of the ground in the vicinity of the church, it would appear that suitable locations can be selected there for huts for the mass of the troops. I suggest the propriety of constructing huts for the troops there, retaining in the batteries only men enough to guard against surprise, and relieve these every day. I have given instructions that the quartermaster at Baltimore forward at once to Fort Monroe, for shipment to Hatteras, lumber sufficient to hut two regiments and for the necessary storehouses.

The landing of supplies can be much facilitated by building a wharf on the inner side of the island, and their transportation by making a corduroy or plank road, or by coating the sand with mud from the marshes.

You will please send Captain Stewart or some other competent officer of engineers to Hatteras for a few days to select the positions for the new defenses, roads, camps, &c., and to commence their execution. I would also be glad to have you send a fresh regiment to replace the Indiana, and within a reasonable time one to relieve the Ninth New York. It would be good policy to change the regiments at this rather disagreeable station every one or two months.

The huts should be constructed to accommodate about half a company each, or at least 20 men. If stoves are necessary for the comfort of the men, they will be ordered on your requisition. Until the Navy is prepared to control the sound, it seems inexpedient to hold the lighthouse. I understand that the lens was destroyed long since and has not been replaced. Assistant Secretary Fox informs me that in thirty-five days at most they will be prepared to throw an effective force of suitable gunboats into the sound. We may then venture to re-establish the light, and I shall then be glad to concert with you offensive measures of some importance in that inland sea.

Will you be good enough, general, to give me somewhat in detail an account of the condition, position, &c., of your own troops and defenses-as well as those of the enemy-together with your views as to offensive operations from the base of Fort Monroe. Have the enemy any defenses at Lynn Haven Bay and Little Inlet?

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

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army.




Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commanding the Army:

GENERAL: Agreeably to your instructions of the 6th, received on the 8th instant, I herewith transmit a statement of what I consider necessary for defensive, and to a certain extent offensive, operations in this section of Virginia, excluding Norfolk and its surrounding country.

1st. The enemy have, as reported by deserters as well as other persons, 25,000 men stationed between Yorktown and James River. I think, however, this is a very great exaggeration of their forces, which I do not believe exceed 12,000; certainly not beyond 15,000. They appear to have a large proportion of cavalry and artillery, and their men appear tolerably well clothed, and, as the deserters say, have plenty to eat.

2d. The Federal troops, with the exception of a single company of artillery, are volunteers, and some of the regiments have been but recently raised. The aggregate of all the forces stationed in Fort Monroe, Camp Hamilton, and Newport News, called Camp Butler, amounts to about 9,000. The rank and file are generally young and active, and with capable, intelligent, and enterprising officers would very soon make good soldiers. We are, however, improving; but for the want of proper officers, capable of giving instruction, I have been little else than a schoolmaster since I took command of the Department of Virginia. These remarks will apply to all the volunteers. To make them what they appear, highly respectable, I have been compelled to rise early and sit up late. But without light artillery I would attempt no serious demonstration against the enemy, who appear to rely very much on their cavalry and artillery. The recent inspection by Colonel Cram, aide-de-camp, acting as inspector-general-and he makes a very good one-shows the arms in the hands of the volunteers are generally bad. He says in a recent report that “we require 5,000 stand of the best infantry muskets to replace the comparatively worthless arms with which several of our regiments are now wholly or in part armed, several of which having not more than two companies well armed.” To which I would add that I exchanged with the Indiana regiment a day or two before it left for Hatteras 150 arms, which exhausted most of the serviceable muskets in the arsenal. Those received from the regiment, as Lieutenant Baylor, ordnance officer, informed me, were not reparable.

3d. In Fort Monroe I have a company of artillery, and have nearly or quite 200 volunteers under instruction for that service. For the first company I have only Lieutenant Lodor. For the 200 volunteers I have only Captain Mendenhall. Under his instructions they have made considerable progress in the maneuvering of heavy guns. Of all the artillerists instructed and being instructed I could not efficiently man ten heavy guns. I have no light artillery, although we have a few men called light artillery at Camp Butler. Altogether we have over 100 men, but only two officers that properly belong to them, to wit, Major Roberts, recently promoted, and Lieutenant Lodor. Captain Mendenhall, recently promoted, has been ordered to join his company. I have retained him to instruct the volunteers. Second Lieutenant Sanger is at Newport News, but he belongs to the company at Hatteras Inlet. He has charge of the artillery of that post and a few light artillery in charge of a 6-pounder and 12-pounder howitzer. I have not referred to Lieutenant-Colonel Nauman nor Major Wyse, because neither can be of any service. Lieutenant-Colonel Nauman reported to me highly intoxicated, {p.630} and it is said he sympathizes with the rebels. I hope you will order him to some other department. Major Wyse, I apprehend from reports made to me, is no better. He applied for leave of absence, and I gave him leave for a month. I want subaltern officers-lieutenants capable of instructing the rank and file in the drill and maneuvers of the piece. I applied again and again to Lieutenant-General Scott for officers, but my applications were not noticed. I have applied on several occasions for the appointment of second lieutenants of artillery, but I received no response. I thought it singularly strange that Fort Monroe should be left in its present condition, certainly the most important position on the Atlantic coast, and from which at all seasons of the year expeditions could be fitted out against any of the Southern States. The extent of the work, with its present garrison is its weakness. Besides, it is filled and surrounded with wooden buildings. I would, of course, demolish these if we should be seriously threatened with a siege. 4th. In conclusion, I would urge that three light batteries, three squadrons of dragoons-two for Camp Hamilton and one for Camp Butler-be at once furnished this command; of the light batteries, one for Camp Butler and two for Camp Hamilton. These should be composed each of four 6-pounders and two 12-pounder howitzers. These are required for both defensive and offensive operations, should it become necessary. They are, however, indispensable for reconnaissances and demonstrations towards Bethel, Yorktown, &c. Volunteers will seldom attempt to resist batteries or cavalry without the same corps to sustain them and set them an example. I should indeed be glad to have a few artillery companies to man our heavy guns in Fort Monroe.

Of the enemy and their positions in and around Norfolk I have no certain information. At Sewell’s Point there are two batteries of some twenty guns or more. At Craney Island and at Pig Point are several batteries of heavy guns. At Lynn Haven Bay there is no permanent battery established. I have not been able to arrive at any correct conclusion of the forces of the enemy in and about Norfolk, the number having greatly varied within the last six weeks.

I herewith inclose a report, just received, of some colored men who have just arrived from Nansemond. This will be handed to you by my aide-de-camp, Maj. Le G. B. Cannon, who will make such explanations as may be necessary for you to understand fully this communication, and can inform you fully of all matters connected with this command.

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

JOHN B. WOOL, Major-General.



GENERAL: I learned the following from - -, colored, who, with five others, all colored, came from Nansemond River last night in a small boat:

He says that there are two batteries on the Nansemond River, about one and one-half miles apart-the first about four miles from the mouth-both on the left bank. Each mounts four guns, about 24-pounders. The first is shaped thus: V V V V. The first is garrisoned by forty men of the Isle of Wight regiment, the second by eight. One gun in each fort will traverse; the chassis of the others are immovable. Both {p.631} open in the rear; very flimsy and trifling affairs. River about 3 miles wide opposite the batteries. Can land midway between them. The Isle of Wight regiment is at Smithfield. The Petersburg cavalry company is at Chuckatuck. There are thirteen regiments of South Carolina troops at the old brick church near Smithfield, commanded by Colonel Pender. At Suffolk there are 10,000 Georgia troops. They have been coming in for the past three weeks in small detachments. This man says that the farmers are starving their negroes to feed the soldiers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-General.



Col. THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War:

SIR: Herewith I inclose to you a petition for arms from captains of the Delaware regiment, approved by the colonel and Colonel Cram, acting as inspector-general. The latter is an excellent inspector, and well qualified to judge of the quality of muskets and rifles. On the 11th November I reported to Major-General McClellan that we required 5,000 stand of arms to replace those unfit for field service in the hands of troops under my command.

Allow me to call your attention to expeditions fitting out for the South. Without the slightest notice to myself of such expeditions or any orders to supply them, they call on me for ammunition and other supplies. I earnestly request that you will give me orders on the subject; that is, whether it is the intention that I shall supply expeditions calling at this post. With such orders I will make arrangements accordingly.

The Constitution has just arrived, with 1,900 men. In their hurry to sail large supplies were left on the wharf; to be brought by some other vessel or vessels.

Brigadier-General Phelps has called on me for sugar, hay, coal, ammunition, and wagons. The ship has fifteen days’ coal on board and ammunition for small-arms. She has no cannon except one, for which the captain said he had ammunition. The gun belonged to the ship, and not the United States. I have given for the use of the soldiers seven barrels of sugar and four tons of hay to feed their cattle, but nothing else. The ship Constitution is a very large one, and I have no doubt could have carried all that might have been required for the use of the troops. It was said by Major-General Butler that she could carry 3,000 troops, with supplies.

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

JOHN B. WOOL, Major-General.



We, the undersigned, officers commanding companies in the First Delaware Regiment, respectfully represent that the muskets in our possession are so defective that frequently one-third of the guard are {p.632} unable to fire at the target, and on picket the sentries are obliged to take the arms of those relieved, thus leaving a portion of the guard defenseless. We believe that such arms impair the confidence of the men, and that their use is detrimental to the public service.

[Signed by all the company commanders.]


MAX WEBER, Colonel, Commanding Camp Hamilton.

Approved: They are old flint locks, altered; very inferior.

JOHN W. ANDREWS, Colonel First Regiment Delaware Volunteers.

Half the regiment has been in service since 3d of May.


The above statement in relation to the defectiveness of arms in this regiment is true, and it is nearly the same in reference to several other regiments in this command. Five thousand infantry arms should be immediately furnished, to replace those now in the hands of the men, which are only fit for “show service” in this department.

T. J. CRAM, Colonel, Acting Inspector-General.


Abstract from return of the Department of Virginia, North-Carolina, &c., commanded by Maj. Gen. John E. Wool, U. S. Army, for December, 1861.

Commands.Present.Aggregate present and absent.
For duty.Total.For duty.Total.
Fort Monroe, Va.46511,1181,3421,453
Newport News (Camp Butler), Va.1341493,0063,6144,054
Fort Calhoun (Ripraps), Va.66148158187
Camp Hamilton and vicinity, Virginia1521734,3044,8665,427
Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina60661,5781,7123,892


Main TitleThe War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.
Corporate NameUnited States. War Department.
Published/Created[S.l.], L.McKee and C.G. Robertson, 1859.
ContentsSer. I. v. 1-53 [serial no. 1-111] Formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the southern states, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, order and returns relating specially thereto. 1880-1898. 111 v.--ser. II. v. 1-8 [serial no. 114-121] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns, Union and Confederate, relating to prisoners of war and to state or political prisoners. 1894 [i.e. 1898]-1899. 8 v.--ser. III. v. 1-5 [serial no. 122-126] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns of the Union authorities (embracing their correspondence with the Confederate officials) note relating specially to the subjects of the first and second series. It embraces the reports of the Secretary of War, of the general-in-chief and of the chiefs of the several staff corps and departments ... 1899-1900. 5 v.--ser. IV. v. 1-3 [serial no. 127-129] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns of the Confederate authorities, similar to that indicated for the Union officials, as of the third series, but including the correspondence between the Union and Confederate authorities given in that series. 1900. 3 v.--[serial no. 130] General index and additions and corrections. Mr. John S. Moodey, indexer. Preface [by Elihu Root, Secretary of War]. Explanations. Synopsis of the contents of volumes. Special index for the principal armies, army corps, military divisions and departments. General index. Additions and corrections [arranged consecutively by volumes]. 1901.