Col. Jubal A. Early to Col. Robert S. Garnett on Recruiting and Arming Troops

4 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. 851-853

Lynchburg, Va., May 16, 1861.

Col. R. S. Garnett, Adjutant-General, Virginia Forces:

Colonel: I arrived here this morning, and have assumed command of the Virginia volunteers mustered into the service of the State at this place. It was not possible for me to get here sooner, as I was compelled to make some preparation to enable me to go into the service. I find that Lieutenant-Colonel Langhorne has mustered into the service two companies of cavalry, one from Lynchburg and the other from Bedford; also, seven companies of infantry, two from Lynchburg, two from Bedford, two from Botetourt, and one from Floyd. Two companies reached here this evening from Roanoke, and will be mustered into the service to-morrow. The company of cavalry from Lynchburg, commanded by Capt. John S. Langhorne, has sabers, but no other arms. The company of cavalry from Bedford, commanded by Capt. William E. Terry, has about fifty sabers, leaving twenty odd without any arms, and those having sabers have no other arms. Three companies, belonging to the Twelfth Brigade of Militia, were reported by the adjutant-general of the militia as armed. The infantry companies have no arms whatever, and I imagine that there are no companies in the counties for which this place is the rendezvous which are armed. I know such is the case in the Twelfth Brigade, composed of the counties of Campbell, Bedford, Franklin, Henry, and Patrick. All the armed companies were ordered into the service by the governor some time since. If, therefore, five regiments of infantry and riflemen and one of cavalry are mustered into the service at this place, and they are armed here, it will be necessary to have sent here near five thousand stand of muskets and rifles, and the same number of sets of accouterments, and about one thousand arms for cavalry, and the like number of sets of accouterments. Some of the companies already here have knapsacks, but most of them are without them, and those likely to come hereafter will be entirely unprovided in that particular. There are not quite enough tents, of an inferior quality and make, for the troops that are here, and no suitable material is to be found at this place for making more. There are not enough mess-pans and camp-kettles for the troops that have been mustered into service, and the assistant quartermaster, Captain Gilmer, informs me that he has orders from the head of the Quartermaster’s Department to make no contract for the manufacture of any articles without orders from headquarters. There are several establishments here in which mess-pans, camp-kettles, and canteens can be manufactured, and I suggest that orders be given to that effect. If knapsacks cannot be furnished from Richmond, the men can make out pretty well by rolling up their clothes in their blankets and wrapping pieces of coarse cloth around them; and there are several large tobacco factories, which are idle, and can be procured as quarters for the troops, so that if arms can be furnished we can get along. If there are plenty of good flint-lock muskets they will do very well if percussion muskets cannot be furnished to all.

I find matters here in quite a confused state, owing to the inexperience of the officers of all the departments. Lieutenant-Colonel Langhorne has made no apportionment of troops among the counties to rendezvous here, and, in fact, has made no call, specifying the number to be received at this place. He has merely given notice, in the papers, that he would muster into service volunteer companies from the counties designated. This has produced a good deal of uncertainty and confusion. I do not wish this to be considered as a complaint against Colonel Langhorne. It results from his entire want of experience in such matters. I am satisfied he has been endeavoring to discharge his duty faithfully; but I would very respectfully suggest that it is rather out of the usual course to intrust to a mustering officer, of inferior rank, so large a discretion in regard to calling out volunteers. It strikes me that a call stating the number of regiments to be received here and the number and kind of companies to be raised in each county would facilitate the business very much. Some of the counties, as, for instance, Henry, Patrick, Carroll, Giles, Mercer, Tazewell, Wise, Buchanan, and McDowell, are remote from the lines of railroad, and cannot be communicated with very expeditiously; and, therefore, it is important that the call upon them should be definite. I would also suggest that it is not likely that there will be more cavalry companies from the counties east of the mountains except the two already mustered and one from Franklin unless, perhaps, one may be raised in Campbell. The counties west of the Alleghany must be relied on to furnish the remainder of the companies required to make out a regiment. Colonel Radford has reported, and he would prefer having command of the regiment of cavalry, and I think it would be better to give it to him, as he will, in all likelihood, be the only colonel that will be available who has had experience as a cavalry officer. I do not understand exactly the last orders in regard to the troops from Campbell, Bedford, Botetourt, Roanoke, and Craig (letter from Major-General Lee, of May 9). Am I to organize a regiment out of said troops, and give Colonel Radford the command of it, or shall I give him command of the whole, including the cavalry companies, and order him to report with them to Colonel Cocke? Shall I send off said troops before they are armed, or wait for their arms?

Lieutenant-Colonel Langhorne informs me that he received instructions to send Captain Moorman’s company (called the Beauregard Rifles) to Richmond, to be armed. The order, however, has been mislaid, and, as he may have misunderstood its tenor, and the instructions are inconsistent with the orders to me to send the troops from Campbell, &c., to Colonel Cocke, I have thought proper to wait for further orders, which, for dispatch, can be sent by telegraph, if the company is to be sent to Richmond.

A Mr. Eugene Carrington has exhibited to me an order from Major Ficklin, quartermaster, appointing him transportation agent here, and directing all orders for transporting troops, &c., from this place to emanate from him. I had thought that the quartermaster here would have control of the arrangements for transportation from this point, but I confess I am little acquainted with such matters, and I submit whether the appointment by Major Ficklin of a transportation agent here (while there is a quartermaster here) is regular.

I hardly think much can be done in the way of arming cavalry companies with double-barreled guns in this region. A number of the men have not got them, and have not the means of purchasing them if they were to be had.

You will pardon the length of this letter, but I thought it better to embrace all the matters about which I want instructions, and about which it is necessary to communicate with you, in one letter than several.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. EARLY,
Colonel, Volunteers, Commanding at Lynchburg, Va.


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