Col. Thomas J. Jackson to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee on Situation in Northwestern Virginia

5 12 2020



O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 863-864

Headquarters, Harper’s Ferry, Va., May 21, 1861.

Maj. Gen. E. E. Lee, Commanding Virginia Forces:

General: Since this place has been strengthened by additional troops and artillery, so as to give confidence to our people, there has been a manifest improvement in public sentiment in this county; but I regret to say that in Berkeley things are growing worse, and that the threats from Union men are calculated to curb the expression of Southern feeling. While I have been unwilling to diminish the force here, yet, for the purpose of checking the disloyalty there, I have ordered the regiment from Jefferson opposite to Williamsport. You speak of concern at the want of alacrity on the part of companies west of here. This is partly due to their unarmed condition and want of a secure place of rendezvous. If no better plan is practicable, I would suggest that a force destined for the northwest be assembled, ostensibly for the defense of this part of the State, at Winchester, or some point near here, and that the moment that the governor’s proclamation announces the ratification by the people of the ordinance of secession, such troops be put in the cars, as though they were coming to this place, but that they be immediately thrown into the northwest, and at once crush out opposition. This force need remain there only for a short time, until the local ones could be armed. You will pardon me for urging promptness in what is to be done for that section of the State. Any want of this may be disastrous.

I send herewith a letter from Captain Shriver, of Wheeling, who has been on a visit here. I wrote to Colonel Garnett that Colonel Huger had gone on to Richmond, for the purpose of procuring whatever may be necessary for the efficiency of the heavy batteries; but I regret to learn that he has been delayed by sickness on his way. Should he not reach Richmond before this letter, please forward a large supply of ammunition for ten 24-pounder guns, if it can be spared. Should Colonel Huger be prevented from reaching Richmond soon, I hope you will, if available, send me a practical ordnance officer. I have been depending on Colonel Huger for mounting and rendering efficient the heavy guns, with the exception of those intrusted to Lieutenant Fauntleroy.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Virginia Volunteers, Commanding Harper’s Ferry, Va.

P. S.—I have about ninety thousand percussion caps.


Harper’s Ferry, Va., May 19, 1861.

Colonel Jackson, Commandant, Harpers Ferry, Va,:

At this time there is between three and four hundred Federal troops stationed upon the fair grounds on Wheeling Island, Ohio County, Virginia. They have been regularly sworn into the service of the U. S. Government by Colonel Oakes, who has been in the city of Wheeling for some time past expressly for that purpose. These troops have been furnished with arms by the U. S. Government at the request of citizens of the counties of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall, for the express purpose of resisting the authorities of the State of Virginia. At this time A. W. Campbell, of the city of Wheeling, by a published authority from Governor Dennison, of Ohio, will not permit citizens of Wheeling to ship provisions in any quantities over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Yours, truly,


Likely Daniel McElheran Shriver, later Lt. Col. of the 27th Virginia Infantry. FindAGrave