May 21, 1861
A letter in the Alexandria Gazette dated Harper's Ferry, May 15th, contains the following:
Yesterday morning eighteen or twenty young ladies reached here on their way South from Ellicott's Mills. They had been going to school there and were returning home, in the charge of several fine looking old gentleman.
Five hundred Mississippians reached here last night; 600 more will be here this morning---They are from all appearances excellent troops. They are well armed and well officered.
Forty or fifty negroes have just gone across the Potomac bridge armed with axes and picks---They marched in single file, keeping time to an air which one of the company most eloquently "whistled." Upon reaching the Maryland side, their commander gave them some directions which they were to follow in going up the mountain, and then he quietly went back across the bridge.
A correspondent of the Alexandria Sentinel, writing from Harper's Ferry says: The number at present stationed immediately at the Ferry is about 5,500 and at different points around the Ferry about 3,100. There are about 600 Kentucky troops, nearly all of them stationed on the Maryland heights.
Yesterday several pieces of cannon arrived from Norfolk, and at present are being stationed at the different points of entrance. It is a singular fact that Augusta and Rockingham, formerly the two strongest Union counties in the State, have sent the largest number of soldiers to this point. Each of these counties send a regiment. A portion of the Augusta regiment has been sent to Shepherdstown, a few miles up the Potomac, to defend the bridge there.
Several grocers have been found selling liquor to the soldiers, and immediately hall their stock was seized and put under guard.
The Maryland heights are now in possession of the Virginia, Kentucky and Baltimore troops. At the Point of Rocks, twelve miles below here, on the Potomac, a battery of Railroad iron has been erected, and a large force stationed.
About 800 Alabama troops have just arrived on the train from Winchester, all fully armed and equipped. They are a splendid looking body of men. They report that more are on their way here. By to-morrow evening there will be an army of between 11,000 and 12,000 men at this point.
A. C. Cummings has been appointed Colonel of the 8th regiment of Virginia volunteers, at this point. S. B. Gibbons, formerly Colonel of the same regiment, has been appointed Major, and assigned to the 4th regiment. Kenton Harper, formerly commander at this point, has received the appointment of Colonel, and is assigned to the 5th regiment.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: May 1861