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[145] nine miles of Chambersburg, it was hoped he would arrive in time to save the town, and efforts were made during the night to communicate with him.

In the meantime the small force of General Couch held the enemy at bay. General Averill marched on Chambersburg, but did not arrive until after the town was burned and the enemy had retired. He pursued and overtook them at McConnellsburg, in Fulton County, in time to save that place from pillage and destruction. He promptly engaged and defeated them, driving them to Hancock and across the Potomac.

I commend the homeless and ruined people of Chambersburg to the liberal benevolence of the Legislature, and suggest that a sufficient appropriation be made for their relief. Similar charity has been heretofore exercised, in the case of an accidental and destructive fire at Pittsburg. And I cannot doubt the disposition of the Legislature on the present occasion.

On the fifth day of the month a large rebel army was in Maryland, and at various points on the Potomac as far west as New Creek; and as there was no adequate force within the State, I deemed it my duty on that day to call for thirty thousand volunteer militia for domestic protection.

They will be armed, transported and supplied by the United States, but as no provision is made for their payment, it will be necessary, should you approve my action, to make an appropriation for that purpose.

Feeling it to be the duty of the General Government to afford full protection to the people of Pennsylvania and Maryland by the defence of the line of the Potomac, I united with Governor Bradford in the following letter to the President, dated July twenty-first, 1864:

State of Maryland, Executive Department, Annapolis, July 21, 1864.
His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States:
sir: The repeated raids across the Potomac River made by portions of the rebel army, and the extent of the damage they have succeeded so frequently in inflicting, have most injuriously affected the people of Maryland and Pennsylvania, in the neighborhood of that river, and many of them, it is believed, as the only security against such losses in the future, are seriously considering the propriety of abandoning their present homes, and seeking safety at the North.

It seems to us that not merely in the sectional aspect of the case, but in its national relation, the security of the border line between the loyal and rebellious States, is an object justifying and requiring a disposition of a portion of the national force with an especial view to its defence.

The Potomac river can only be crossed in its ordinary state of water at some five or six fords, and we propose to enlist from our respective States a volunteer force that shall be sufficient, with the aid of the fortifications which the force itself can speedily construct, to effectually guard them all. We ask of the Government that the recruits thus raised shall be credited to the quotas of our States, on the call last made, to be armed, equipped, and supplied as other volunteers in the service.

We are aware that, as a general rule, well-founded objections exist to the enlistment of a force to be exclusively used for home or local defense, but we regard such a service as we now suggest as an exceptional case, and the complete protection of this part of our frontier as of admitted national importance.

For after the outbreak of the rebellion, the importance of a special defence of the region bordering on the Upper Potomac was recognized by the Government, and the Honorable Francis Thomas, of Maryland, was authorized by it to raise three regiments with a view to the protection of the counties on either side of the river.

Regiments were raised, but the subsequent exigencies of the service required their employment elsewhere, and they therefore afford at present no particular security to that region beyond other troops in the service.

The necessity, as we think, for some such peculiar provision has now become so obvious, that we would, with great respect, but most earnestly, urge upon your Excellency the expediency of acceding to the suggestions we have made, and we will immediately set about raising the forces required, and we have no doubt they will be promptly procured.

We have the honor to be,

With great respect,

Your obedient servants,


The following letter, from the Assistant Adjutant-General, dated August first, 1864, is the only reply received by me up to this time:

war Department, Adjutant-General's office, Washington, D. C., August 1, 1864
His Excellency, the Governor of Pennsylvania:
sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the joint letter from yourself and the Governor of Maryland, dated July twenty-first, 1864, asking authority to raise a volunteer force in your respective States, to be exclusively used for home or local defenses, and for guarding the fords of the Potomac.

In reply, I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you that the proposition has been fully considered, and that the authority asked for cannot be granted. In this connection please see the Act of Congress, approved February sixteenth, 1862, and promulgated in General Orders, No. fifteen, series of 1862, from this office.

I have the honor to remain,

Sir, respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


Thomas M. Vincent, Asssistant Adjutant-General.

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