Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. George H. Terrett on Responsibilities at Alexandria

1 12 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – CONFEDERATE

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 826-827

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 10,1861.

Col. Geo. H. Terrett, Provisional Army of Virginia, Alexandria, Va.:

Colonel : In forwarding Special Orders, No. 39[*], I take occasion to say that, while pursuing a strictly defensive policy, it is necessary that you should be vigilant, have your troops at or near points where they may be needed, and urge forward their instruction and preparation with all the means in your power. For this purpose it will be necessary to remove them from the towns, if possible, and establish them in camps, where their constant instruction and discipline can be attended to. They will the sooner become familiar with the necessities of service, and be better prepared for its hardships. It will be impossible to furnish tents at this time, but it is hoped that unoccupied buildings or temporary plank huts might be obtained where needed. At Manassas Junction, where it will be necessary to establish a portion of your command to secure the road to Harper’s Ferry, some preparation of this sort will be needed. Colonel Garland’s and Colonel Preston’s battalions (the first consisting of four and the second of seven companies) have been ordered to that point, to report to you. These battalions will be increased to regiments as companies from their districts arrive, which will be forwarded to you by Colonel Cocke. You will give them the necessary orders and add such re-enforcements as you think proper. The troops near Alexandria will be kept in readiness to move whenever necessary, will afford such protection to the town and neighborhood as their number will permit, and you will endeavor to take measures to allay unnecessary excitement, and not to provoke aggression.

An early report of the condition and resources of your command is desired. Requisitions upon the staff departments here will be filled as far as possible, and, for articles admitting of no delay you are authorized to call on Colonel Cocke.

Respectfully, &c.,

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

[*The portion of Special Orders #39 pertaining to Terrett is not included in the ORs]


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