Friday, September 9, 2016

Simon Cameron to J. Edgar Thomson, April 27, 1861

WASHINGTON, April 27, 1861.
J. EDGAR THOMSON,  Philadelphia, Pa.:

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 24th [23d] inst. is here. I am really gratified to hear from you that our military friends in Philadelphia have opened their eyes to the existing state of affairs in the country. We have been without any response, except request for small matters of detail, while all my orders and wishes of the last week have been neglected. Until the day before yesterday we had not 2,500 men here under arms. Now we shall have enough in a day or two.

The railway from Annapolis to this place, under the direction of Scott, will be open by Monday for the whole amount of business of which it is capable. We shall want very few more troops by that route, but provisions, clothing, and munitions should be hurried here by it.

I have sent an engineer to reopen the Northern Central, and have ordered, an able officer of this Department to take charge of the troops that may assemble at Harrisburg, and bring them in immediate connection with Baltimore, to be concentrated where the city can be reached. We must occupy it without delay. I will never consent, if the whole power of this Department can prevent it, that a rebel force shall prevent the passage of our fellow-citizens from coming here unmolested. The authorities of Baltimore have acted with bad faith, and one of the most painful acts I have witnessed was the order for the return of our troops from Cockeysville; but that is past, and now we will amend the error.

The President has given me full power to open this communication, and I will do it. To-day the President has ordered me to raise twenty-five regiments of regulars, and also ordered the erection of a manufactory for arms at Rock Island, Ill. This shows you that there will be no lack of energy here. If the officers now in command will not act with energy, General Scott shall be authorized to find others that will.

Secretary of War.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 2 (Serial No. 2), p. 603-4

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