Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee and Col. Thomas J. Jackson Discuss Policy Regarding Maryland

28 11 2020



O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 832-833, 836

Division Hdqrs., Harpers Ferry, Va., May 11, 1861.

Maj. Gen. R. E. Lee :

General: The precautions mentioned in your letter of the 6th instant have been under consideration for some time, and some of them have been taken; others are progressing as rapidly as the circumstances admit of. Arrangements are complete for a desperate defense at Point of Rocks. I have troops also at Berlin, Shepherdstown, and Martinsburg. Marylanders, with artillery, are opposite Shepherdstown, and have threatened us there to such an extent as to induce the officer stationed there to call on me for artillery; and though I can poorly spare it, yet, under the circumstances, I must comply. Previous to receiving your letter I had authorized the payment of $5 for the best arms, and graded pieces below that. My report for yesterday* will show the strength of the command. I can get enough volunteers from the counties named to swell the force to probably four thousand five hundred; but they are without arms, accouterments, and ammunition. Please send me five thousand good muskets and rifles, with complete equipments. Also full equipments for three hundred cavalry, and an additional light battery more than those called for in my last. Make this the depot for the northwest. Grafton should be occupied at once. Col. J. M. Bennett will deliver this to you, and give important information respecting the northwest. The quartermaster, Mr. John A. Harman, of this post, should not be removed, if it can possibly be avoided. Please have him appointed and retained, if practicable. I had difficulty in inducing him to remain; but, if the appointment be sent to him, I think he will continue here.

Please to forward the arms at once, and all troops and supplies destined for Harper’s Perry. I respectfully request they may be sent at once. Have no fear of this place being surprised.

Your most obedient servant,

Colonel, Virginia Volunteers, Commanding.

*Not found.

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 12,1861.

Col. T. J. Jackson,
Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

Colonel : I have just received your letter of the 11th instant, by Colonel Bennett. I am concerned at the feeling evinced in Maryland, and fear it may extend to other points, besides opposite Shepherdstown. It will be necessary, in order to allay it, that you confine yourself to a strictly defensive course. I presume the points occupied by you at Point of Bocks, Berlin, and Shepherdstown are on our side. I am glad to hear that volunteers are assembling. Over two thousand arms have already been sent to you, and one thousand more have been ordered this evening. If you only expect to receive sufficient volunteers to swell your force to four thousand five hundred men, I do not see how you can require five thousand arms, as you must now have nearly three thousand armed, besides the three thousand arms, above mentioned, ordered to you. We have no rifles or cavalry equipments. The latter may use double-barreled shot-guns and buck-shot, if no better arms can be procured. I will see to the quartermaster. I fear no field battery can be sent you besides that now preparing. The Fourth Begiment Alabama troops, from Lynchburg, have gone to you, and I have ordered two others from the same point. Ammunition has also been ordered to you. You know our limited resources, and must abstain from all provocation for attack as long as possible.

I am, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
Major-General, Commanding.



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