Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on Defensibility of Harper’s Ferry (2)

15 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. 897-898

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., June 1, 1861.

General Joseph E. Johnston,
Commanding, &c., Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

General: In answer to your letter of the 31st ultimo, received by Col. H. A. Edmundson, I have to state that, since my letter to you of this morning, I have directed all the available companies at Staunton to proceed to Harper’s Ferry and to report to you for duty. The First Tennessee Regiment, now at this place, Colonel Turney, has also been directed to report to you as soon as practicable. With this re-enforcement, and such as you may be able to obtain from the valley, you may probably hold your position and prevent the passage of the Potomac by hostile troops until further troops can reach you. I think that no troops from Ohio have yet reached Grafton, as a special messenger from Colonel Porterfield reports the contrary, and that certain bridges on the Parkersburg road had been burned. Some little time must therefore elapse, in all probability, before a movement can be made against you from that direction. Information of the movements of troops in that direction might be obtained from friends in that region. Should you, however, be opposed by a force too large to resist, I can only repeat what is contained in my letter of this morning, viz, destroy everything that cannot be removed which may be of advantage to the enemy. Deprive them of the use of the railroad, take the field, and endeavor to arrest their advance up the valley.

I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.