April 25, 1861: Troops reach Washington — Butler commands Annapolis

Washington was feeling increasingly besieged, and waited anxiously for troops from the loyal states. Secessionists in Baltimore threatened the troops attempting to pass through Maryland. General Butler was given command of Annapolis, the closest port by which troops could reach Washington.

WASHINGTON, April 25, 1861.

Brigadier General B. F. BUTLER, Massachusetts Volunteers:

SIR: If this letter should find you not too far this side of Annapolis, I will ak you to consider yourself, for a time, as the commander of that city and retain a competent force to hold it. Next, I wish you to select a regiment (the one of your brigade or any other), and string it at convenient distances all along the railroad, by the junction and towards this city, as far as its numbers may suffice, to protect the road, its rails, bridges, and cars, so as to keep the communication open for troops and travelers between Annapolis and Washington by rail.

The principal points in the road to be occupied are: the junction, Beltsville, the bridges, cross-roads, and a few of the other stations. Some of the intermediate stations may also require smaller detachments, and every post ought to be instructed to throw out scouts to the right and left frequently during the night and day. If the regiment takes, in the first instance, cooked provisions for a few days, the posts may afterwards be supplied by the trains which will be passing daily. Tents and cooking utensils will, perhaps, be needed at some of the posts or detachments.

Send to this place all the spare troops from Annapolis as fast as you may find means of transportation, and report often.

Very respectfully,
WINFIELD SCOTT.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Albany, N. Y., April 25, 1861.

Honorable SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:
SIR: The news just at hand of the arrival in Washington of the Sixth, Twelfth, and Seventy-first Regiments has awakened emotions hardly to be described. Our information one hour before was of the most painful character. The greatest possible efforts are being made to furnish everything needed by the troops sent, and none will follow till they are properly uniformed, equipped, and provisioned. All the troops sent via the Potomac had thirty days’ supply of provisions. Open the way through Baltimore, cost what it may. I write earnestly, but feelingly.

Faithfully, yours,
E. D. MORGAN.

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