Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
Affairs at Harper's Ferry — loyally of Western
Martinsburg,Va., May 1, 1861.
I left Washington
and arrived here on the 22d of last month, and since that time have visited Harper's Ferry
for two or three days, with the view of ascertaining what amount of damage the Federal
troops did to the Armory
before evacuating it. The buildings, with but few exceptions, are as good as ever they were at the ‘" Musket Works."’ The ‘"Rifle Works "’ were not disturbed at all, but the arsenal, with perhaps 13,000 stand of arms, was entirely consumed, although the lock plates and hammers of most of the guns can, by proper mechanical care, be made fit for use, and the barrels, with other limbs of the gun, by the use of the forge, can be worked over, and will make the best material for making gun-barrels.
Through the assistance of the late ‘" Brown
raid "’ on Harper's Ferry
, the geographical position and the topographical defences of that place were rendered so very plain by the different presses throughout the country, that it makes it useless for me to attempt to describe them.
But I will say, that if the Massachusetts
regiment that I saw in Washington
is a fair representation of the Lincoln
army, the band of Virginians
stationed at this place, and so well fortified as they are, would defy ten times their number in the Gibraltar of America
All entrances to the town must breast the mouths of anxious and hungry batteries, always ready and willing to belch forth their howling and destructive contents into the ranks of the invading foe.
I think it is nonsense and idle talk, from what I have seen and heard since here, for any one to entertain such an idea as that ‘" Western Virginia
is not loyal to the State
. "’ Of the troops at Harper's Ferry
, not one is from the Eastern
part of the State
I have conversed freely with many of them, and the unanimous voice seems to be, we are for our State, ‘" right or wrong, "’ though many were strong Union men until Lincoln
compelled their native State to be no longer a part of that ‘" glorious Union "’ that was.
The majority of the citizens of Harper's Ferry
, I am sorry to say, are disloyalists; some went so far as to go to Washington
and request the so-called Government there to send more Federal troops to the former place to protect the Armory
from the army of Secessionists, and also told the said Government that, ‘" if Virginia
did secede, Harper's Ferry
would not. "’ One of these very men shouldered his Sharp
's Rifle and called upon the citizens to come out and resist the State
troops, stating that he had been assured at Washington
that if they would stand by the Federal
troops stationed there, the Lincoln Government
would stand by them.
Another one said he had ‘" twenty good Union men at the Rifle works to resist the mob, "’ (State authorities,) and said, ‘" Can't I get twenty more to assist Lieut. Jones
?"’ Such were the feelings then, and I am sure they are not much changed now; but with the exception of that rotten, contemptible, and which has always been a disgraceful, hole, this section of the State
will, on the 4th Thursday in May, prove itself truly loyal to the ‘" Old Commonwealth. "’ Rex