Series 1, Volume 12, p. 3, pp. 8, 25
Washington, March 22, 1862.
Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, U. S. A.,
Commanding Mountain Department:
Sir: Your general duties in the command recently assigned to you are sufficiently indicated by the character of the conflict in which the Government is engaged, and specific instructions are therefore not deemed to be necessary, except on one or two points, to which your attention is especially called.
You will regard it as a special duty to protect from all injury from the public enemy so much of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as falls within your district. For this purpose, unless some manifest reason should render it inexpedient, you will commit this service to General Kelley.
Your attention will next be directed to the railroad between Knoxville and Richmond, some one point of which within your command you will seize and hold with the troops under your command.
Beyond these two cardinal points of duty the Department refrains from giving specific instructions, leaving you the usual discretion of commanders in the field.
In consequence of embarrassments having been thrown upon the officers of the Government in the settlement of accounts growing out of contracts irregularly made in some parts of the country for army supplies, transportation, &c., it becomes necessary to call the attention of commanders to this subject, and to direct that no contract whatever will be made by your authority except in conformity with the Regulations for the Army and through the proper officers of the several departments of the Army. The necessities of the country and the credit of the service demand strict regularity and rigid economy.
You will enter without delay upon your command and lose no time in - commencing active operations. Frequent and full report of your operations, in progress or contemplated, will be expected, and the cordial sup- port and co-operation of the Department will be afforded to whatever may tend to the good of the service and speedy suppression of the rebellion and restoration of the authority of the Government. You will notify the Department if new instructions or additional forces may at any time be required.
By order of the Secretary of War:
Headquarters Army of the Potomac
Alexandria, March 28, 1862. (Received 7 p. m.)
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
I have just had a full conversation with Mr. Garrett. I will direct another regiment to be detailed to guard the bridges of the railway between Harpers Ferry and the South Branch of the Potomac, and do all in my power to insure the safety of the road. I respectfully suggest that in addition to the order requiring General Fremont to keep a force at Moorefield he be also instructed to keep a party at Romney, and to maintain a suitable permanent infantry guard at all of the bridges west of the South Branch. I would also suggest that General Kelley would be a suitable person to take charge of the protection of the post of the railway in General Fremontís department.
Geo. B. McClellan,
Major- General, Commanding.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: March 1862