MARTINSBURG, VA., July 4, 1861.
SIR: I avail myself of a favorable opportunity hastily to inform you of my arrival at this place, with no opposition of any character since thee 2nd instant, but with a warm welcome from the populace. The rebel cavalry retired from the town as the command entered, and scattered in several directions. The infantry and artillery retired towards Winchester.
I have halted temporarily to bring up supplies, which will be here to-morrow, having to-day returned all my wagons for the purpose. Pro visions in this part of the country are limited, and consequently with my present transportation I can advance but a short distance before I am compelled to halt. As soon as provisions arrive I shall advance to Winchester to drive the enemy from that place, if any remain. I then design to move towards Charleston, to which point I believe Colonel Stone is advancing, and, if I find it not hazardous, to continue to Leesburg. I must do this or abandon the country, by retiring the way I came, in consequence of the term of the three months’ volunteers being about to expire. They will not, in any number, renew their service, though I think the offer should be made.
The Union sentiment here is apparently very strong, but may fear a reverse, and that this force will retire, either voluntarily or forcibly. The people cannot be made use of to raise a force for self-defense unless supported by a strong force of U. S. troops.
I desire to be informed of the wish of the General-in-Chief in regard to the continued occupation of this region. I have ordered up all force in the rear, except the Connecticut regiment, five companies of which are stationed at each of the depots, Williamsport and Hagerstown. The Rhode Island Battery and the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers join me to-night.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Army, Washington City.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.