Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Thomas J. Jackson Directing Him to Recruit and Form Companies at Harper’s Ferry

21 11 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. 793-794

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

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

Colonel: Under authority of the governor of the State, you are directed to call out volunteer companies from the counties in the valley adjacent to Harper’s Ferry, viz, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire, Hardy, Frederick, and Clarke, including the troops you may muster in at Harper’s Ferry, not counting five regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and two batteries of light artillery, of four pieces each. The average number of enlisted men in each company will be eighty-two, and the troops will be directed to rendezvous at Harper’s Ferry. You will select, as far as possible, uniformed companies with arms, organize them into regiments under the senior captains, until proper field officers can be appointed. You will report the number of companies accepted in the service of the State under this authority, their description, arms, &c. Five hundred Louisiana troops, said to be en route for this place, will be directed to report to you, and you will make provision accordingly.

You are desired to urge the transfer of all the machinery, materials, &c., from Harper’s Ferry, as fast as possible, and have it prepared in Winchester for removal to Strasburg, whence it will be ordered to a place of safety. The machinery ordered to this place must be forwarded with dispatch, as has already been directed. The remainder will await at Strasburg further orders. All the machinery of the rifle factory, and everything of value therein, will be also removed as rapidly as your means will permit. If the troops can be advantageously used in the removal of the machinery, they will be so employed. It is thought probable that some attack may be made upon your position from Pennsylvania, and you will keep yourself as well informed as possible of any movements against you. Should it become necessary to the defense of your position, you will destroy the bridge across the Potomac. You are particularly directed to keep your plans and operations secret, and endeavor to prevent their being published in the papers of the country.

I am, sir, &c.,

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





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Thomas J. Jackson Directing Him to Take Command at Harper’s Ferry

19 11 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. 784-785

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., April 27, 1861.

Col. Thomas J. Jackson,
Virginia Volunteers, Camp near Richmond, Va.:

Colonel: You will proceed, without delay, to Harper’s Ferry, Va., in execution of the orders of the governor of the State, and assume command of that post. After mustering into the service of the State such companies as may be accepted under your instruction, you will organize them into regiments or battalions, uniting, as far as possible, companies from the same section of the State. These will be placed under their senior captains, until the field officers can be appointed by the governor. It is desired that you expedite the transfer of the machinery to this place, ordered to the Richmond Armory, should it not have been done, and that you complete, as fast as possible, any guns or rifles partially constructed, should it be safe and practicable. Your attention will be particularly directed to the safety of such arms, machinery, parts of arms, raw material, &c., that may be useful, to insure which they must be at once sent into the interior, if in your judgment necessary. If any artillery companies offer their services, or are mustered into the service of the State, and are without batteries, report the facts.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

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





Gov. John Letcher to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee on Placing Col. Thomas J. Jackson in Command at Harper’s Ferry

19 11 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, p. 784

Executive Department, April 27, 1861.

Maj. Gen. R. E. Lee, Commanding, &c.:

Sir : You will direct Col. T. J. Jackson to proceed to Harper’s Ferry, to organize into regiments the volunteer forces which have been called into the service of the State, and which may be assembled in the neighborhood. Direct him to report with as much dispatch as possible the number and description of the companies thus organized; the character and condition of their arms, and the names of the company officers present for duty, and where from; also, the names of all general, field, and staff officers now in the field in that command, that the Executive may have the information required for the proper organization of the regiments and brigades according to the ordinance of the Convention of April 21,1861. You will place Colonel Jackson, for the present, in command of the troops in that locality, and give him such general instructions as may be required for the military defenses of the State. Direct him to make diligent inquiry as to the state of feeling in the northwestern portion of the State. If necessary, appoint a confidential agent for that purpose, but great confidence is placed in the personal knowledge of Major Jackson in this regard. If deemed expedient, he can assemble the volunteer forces of the northwest at such points as he may deem best, giving prompt information of the same. Promptness in all these matters is indispensable.

I am, very respectfully,

JOHN LETCHER.





Key Harpers Ferry Battlefield Land Threatened

3 08 2010

Most of you are no doubt aware of the impending construction of a Wal-Mart on land near the Chancellorsville Battlefield.  Likewise you probably have heard the hue and cry surrounding the possible development of land outside Gettysburg as a casino complex.  These two parcels of land have something other than their proximity to major NPS parks in common: they’re NOT situated on battlefield land.

On Bolivar Heights-South at Harpers Ferry, development threatens property that IS battlefield land: on the evening of September 14-15, 1862, the right wing of Stonewall Jackson’s three division force under the command of A. P. Hill occupied Bolivar Heights-South as he maneuvered to turn Union General Dixon Miles’s position on Bolivar Heights, a move that effectively compelled the Federal commander to surrender the town.

Now that land, 406 acres known as Old Standard Quarry, is slated for 2.3 MILLION square feet of commercial space.  That’s more than 16 Super Wal-Marts, according to Harpers Ferry NHP Chief Historian Dennis Frye.  Add to that floor space acres of asphalt parking, streets, and lighting.  Last fall, under the guise of a timber harvest, the developers clear-cut the western face of the hillside, which you can see in the picture below, on the far side of the central strip of vegetation,  as viewed from the position of Jackson’s center on School House Ridge.

These are the same developers who in 2006 notoriously and illegally dug up and installed water and sewer lines on the School House Ridge battlefield ground on NPS property!  These lines, which make the development of Old Standard Quarry possible, are still functional thanks in part to our Department of Justice, which for some unknown reason has never taken action against the scofflaws.  The developers have somehow obtained a regulatory exemption through the State of West Virginia that absolves them of adherence to local planning and zoning ordinances – that’s right, these guys are obligated to follow almost no regulations.  What’s up with that?

The National Parks Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Friends of Harpers Ferry Park, and the Harpers Ferry Conservancy have united to counter the developers.  If you want to know how you can help, follow the links provided.

Steven Mynes beat me to the punch on this here.





Harper’s Ferry Events Kick Off Civil War Sesquicentennial

18 10 2009

It seems that this past weekend’s events at Harper’s Ferry in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid are being recognized as the kickoff for the Civil War sesquicentennial.  This may come as a surprise to some folks in Kansas.  A few bloggers were in attendance for at least some of the festivities, and as they post their thoughts and pictures, I’ll link to them here.

Jared Frederick (History Matters) here.

Craig Swain (To the Sound of the Guns) here.

Donald Thompson (Touch the Elbow) here.





John Brown’s March

16 10 2009

capitol_muralWe’ve had this up on the SHAF website for a while, but I was a little taken aback to see this article featured on Comcast’s homepage as one of the day’s top news items.  Last month I spoke with Dennis Frye about the anniversary events planned for the next few days, and I’ll just say if you’re lucky enough to be in the Harper’s Ferry area over the next few days, you’re in for some treats.  The sold-out march from the Kennedy Farm to HF tonight has got to be one of the coolest events I’ve ever heard of, and I was truly bummed to find out that the wife would be travelling for work this whole upcoming week, starting tomorrow.  If any of you attend any of the events (learn more about them here and here), please feel free to send me a report!