CAMP JACKSON, ON THE POTOMAC, June 11, 1861.
DEAR SIR: I suppose you have heard all the particulars of the Aquia Creek fight and the part borne by the Walker Legion. One company of it was in one of the batteries, and the celebrated rifled cannon, so effective upon the enemy, was managed by one of our young lieutenants. The remainder of the regiment was held in reserve, though within range of their guns, at a point of concealment, to prevent a landing if such was attempt. The boys were too eager, and courted a hand to-hand fight. I made a report to Colonel Ruggles, and forbear further trespass now. I want the Walker Legion to be in the column which advances upon Washington. I believe we will have skirmishes here now-nothing more. We will sink their ships on another effort if they come in range. I had Walker’s rifle battery under my command placed with two rifle companies to sustain, and one company of mounted men with carbines within hailing distance on Symmes’ Point under cover-a masked battery-Saturday, night after the fight, thinking they would return to their same position next morning. That night we worded three hundred men all night to have two columbiads and this battery of Walker’s in place, but the enemy, being so crippled, did not return.
The arrangement Sunday morning would have sunk their ships in an hour had they resumed their position. We are drilling daily, and almost hourly, and will look to you to give us a chance.
I want one-half hour’s talk with you, and if you will telegraph General Holmes to send me individually to Richmond for a day I can get to go; otherwise I don’t think the old Tycoon (Holmes) will let me, and I never disobey orders. you may be sure I will not leave when there is a prospect of a fight. Everything is peaceable now except the Pawnee, which still coils about our shore like a wounded viper. We have vedettes near here.
I get information from above and below this point for twenty miles every day through couriers, and can know when it is safe to leave for Richmond only a day.
Pardon the length of this free-and-easy letter. I know it is a trespass on your much-engaged time. Let me hear from you. Send the dispatch spoken of or write letter, and oblige.
WM. B. BATE.
Honorable L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War.
P. S.–I am expecting that field battery promised me at Montgomery. I have a company preparing for it.
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.