Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Gov. John Letcher, on Military and Naval Preparation for the Defense of Virginia

23 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, p. 927-929

Headquarters,
Richmond, Va., June 15,1861.

His Excellency John Letcher, Governor of Virginia:

Sir: Agreeably to your request, I submit a statement of the military and naval preparation for the defense of Virginia, from the period of her separation from the U. S. Government to the date of transfer of the military operations of the State to the Confederate Government. Arrangements were first made for the establishment of batteries to prevent the ascent of our enemy by hostile vessels. As soon as an examination was made for the selection of sites, their construction was begun and their armament and defense committed to the Virginia Navy. Preparations were also begun for receiving into the service of the State volunteer companies, and for organizing, arming, and equipping them. Mustering officers were appointed, rendezvous established, and provision made for their subsistence and shelter. The primary estimate of the number of troops, of all arms, required, based upon the points to be defended, amounted to fifty-one thousand men. The estimated quota of each portion of the State has been furnished, except from the western section. Arrangements were made for calling out the volunteers from the western section at the same time and in the same manner as from the eastern section, but as yet it has been feebly responded to.

Complete returns from the troops in the field have not, and, from the nature of things, cannot for some time be received; but, from the best source of information within our reach, the number of Virginia troops is about 35,000. This amount probably falls below the real number, for, referring to the report of the Colonel of Ordnance, it will be seen that he has issued 2,054 rifles and carbines and 41,004 muskets, in addition to pistols and sabers to the cavalry. Thirteen thousand arms have also been issued from Lexington, making a total of 56,658. Seven thousand of those from Lexington and several thousand from the arsenal at Richmond have been issued to troops from other States; but as many of the Virginia companies, supposed to be about 5,000 men, were armed and equipped when received into the service of the State, should the number of unarmed companies from other States not differ materially from the number of armed companies of the State, the number of Virginia troops in the field may be assumed to be about 40,000. When it is remembered that this body of men were called from a state of profound peace to one of unexpected war, you will have reason to commend the alacrity with which they left their homes and families and prepared themselves for the defense of the State. The assembling of men, however, was not the most difficult operation. Provision for their instruction, subsistence, equipment, clothing, shelter, and transportation in the field required more time and labor. Ammunition of every kind had to be manufactured. The carriages of the guns for river, land, and field service had to be made, with the necessary implements, caissons, battery wagons, &c. One hundred and fifteen guns for field service have thus been provided, from which twenty light batteries, of four guns each, have been furnished, with the requisite horses, harness, &c.

For the defense of James River, two batteries and two steamers have been provided, mounting, altogether, forty guns, ranging in caliber from 32-pounders to 8 and 9 inch columbiads. Arrangements are also in process for mounting sixty guns, of different weights, on the defenses around Richmond, and a naval battery of 6 to 12 pounder howitzers is in process of organization.

On York River three batteries have been constructed, mounting thirty guns, of caliber similar to the guns on James River.

Sites for batteries on the Potomac have also been selected, and arrangements were in progress for their construction; but the entire command of that river being in the possession of the United States Government, a larger force is required for their security than could be devoted to that purpose. The batteries at Aquia Greek have only been prepared. Twelve guns are in position there.

On the Rappahannock River a four-gun battery of 32 pounders and 8-inch columbiads has been erected.

Six batteries have been erected on the Elizabeth Eiver, to guard the approaches to Norfolk and the navy-yard. They mount eighty-five guns, 32-pounders and 8 and 9 inch columbiads.

To prevent the ascent of the Nansemond Eiver and the occupation of the railroad from Norfolk to Richmond, three batteries have been constructed on that river, which will mount nineteen guns.

The frigate United States has been prepared for a school-ship, provided with a deck battery of nineteen guns, 32-pounders and 9-inch columbiads, for harbor defense. The frigate Merrimac has been raised and is in the dry-dock, and arrangements are made for raising the Germantown and Plymouth.

In addition to the batteries described, other works have been constructed for their land defense, exceeding, in many instances, the works on the batteries themselves. An extensive line of field works has been erected for the security of Norfolk on the sides towards the bay. Redoubts for the same purpose have been constructed at Jamestown Island, Gloucester Point, Yorktown, and across the neck of land below Williamsburg. I have confined myself to a general narration of operations, and for the details refer you to the reports of several chiefs of staff.

Very respectfully, &c.,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. R. C. W. Radford on Forwarding Cavalry to Manassas

23 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, p. 926

Richmond, Va., June 13, 1861—1.30 p. m.

Col. R. C. W. Radford, Lynchburg, Va.:

Use your discretion in sending cavalry companies to Manassas by rail or road. Lose as little time as possible. There are here no arms for cavalry of any kind.

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee Advising Against Sending Troops to Harper’s Ferry Without Equipment

21 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, p. 922

Headquarters,
Harper’s Ferry, Va., June 12, 1861.

General R. E. Lee, Commanding:

General: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 10th instant informing me that two regiments from Lynchburg have been ordered to report at Harper’s Ferry. Permit me to urge most respectfully the importance of equipping the troops ordered to this place before putting them en route. Ammunition and means of transportation cannot be obtained here. Without them, additional troops only make this command more helpless. Before the arrival of the Tennessee and Georgia regiments, our supply of ammunition and means of transportation were far too small. The further division makes us no more able to fight, and unable to march. It is much to be regretted, I think, that the Tennessee regiment was admitted into the service. It is without accouterments, instruction, or subordination.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Col. Eppa Hunton on Damaging Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad and Command Changes

21 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, p. 917

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Fa., June 10,1861.

Col. Eppa Hunton, Commanding, Leesburg, Va.:

Colonel: Your letter of the 8th instant has been received, and it is hoped that you have accomplished the destruction of the bridges upon the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad, and otherwise rendered the road unserviceable to the enemy. Unless any of the rolling stock can be transferred to the Orange or Manassas Railroad, it must be destroyed immediately. Should it not already be demolished, the gondola and flats must not be permitted to fall into the hands of the enemy.

Lieut. Col. C. C. Cocke has been ordered to duty with your regiment. General G. T. Beauregard is in command of all the forces in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun, through whom you should make your reports, and from whom you will receive instructions. Your letter of the 8th has been referred to him for his information and action. It is necessary to destroy the navigation of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, to prevent its being used by the enemy, and you will take measures to do so effectually, by cutting the dams at Seneca and Edwards Ferry, and blowing up the Monocacy Aqueduct.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





General Orders #25 – Gov. John Letcher Transfers Command of Virginia Forces to Confederate Government

19 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. 911-912

General Orders,
No. 25

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., June 8, 1861.

By the Governor of Virginia.
A Proclamation.

The delegates of the people of Virginia, in Convention assembled, having by their ordinance passed April 25, 1861, adopted and ratified the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, ordained and established at Montgomery, Ala., on February 8, 1861, and the State of Virginia having been, by an act of the Confederate States, passed May 7, 1861, admitted as a State into the Confederate Government, and the President being, under the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States and of the militia of the several States when called into the service of the Confederate States:

Now, therefore, I, John Letcher, governor of Virginia, by and with the advice and consent of the executive council, do hereby transfer to the authorities of the Confederate States, by regiments, all the volunteer forces which have been mustered into the service of Virginia, and do order a like transfer, by regiments, battalions, squadrons, and companies, of all volunteers or militia, as the same shall be formed, and their services may be required.

I further hereby transfer to the authorities of the Confederate States the command of all the officers, seamen, and marines of the Provisional Navy of Virginia, for service in the Confederate States.

I do further order that all officers of the Virginia service now on duty in any of the departments of the staff continue to discharge their respective functions, under the direction and control of the President, until otherwise ordered; and that all quartermasters, commissary, and medical stores belonging to the State and in charge of said officers, to be turned over for the use of the Confederate States, upon proper receipts for the articles turned over, to be forwarded to the accounting officer for settlement. All moneys in charge of any of the departments will be forthwith returned into the treasury of the State.

I do further order all the Provisional Army of Virginia to respect and obey all lawful orders emanating from the President, or those commanding under his authority, and that the same may be incorporated, in whole or in part, into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States, at the pleasure of the President.

I do hereby authorize the use of all public property, munitions of war, &c., captured from the United States, the machinery at Harper’s Ferry excepted, by the President or those acting under his authority, for the common defense.

Given under my hand as governor, and under the seal of the State, at Richmond, this 6th day of June, A. D. 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

By the governor:
[SEAL]

GEORGE W. MUNFORD,
Secretary of the Commonwealth.

In compliance with the foregoing proclamation, the command of the military and naval forces of the State of Virginia is transferred to the Confederate States. All officers of said forces will obey the orders they may receive from the heads of the War and Navy Departments, respectively. Officers of the staff will receive their instructions from the chiefs of the several branches of the Confederate States Government.

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, on Clarification of the Role of His Command

19 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, p. 910

Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., June 7, 1861.

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

General: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 6th instant. The importance of the subject has induced me to lay it before the President, that he may be informed of your views. He places great value upon our retention of the command of the Shenandoah Valley and the position at Harper’s Ferry. The evacuation of the latter would interrupt our communication with Maryland, and injure our cause in that State. He does not think it probable that there will be an immediate attack by troops from Ohio.

General R. S. Garnett, C. S. Army, with a command of four thousand men, has been directed to Beverly, to arrest the progress of troops towards the Shenandoah Valley. Col. Angus W. McDonald has also been sent to interrupt the passage of troops over the Baltimore and Ohio Bailroad. It is hoped by these means that you will be relieved from an attack in that direction, and will have merely to resist an attack in front from Pennsylvania.

An effort will be made to send you cartridge-boxes and knapsacks for the two regiments that are without them, and also an additional supply of ammunition. Greater mobility might be given to your forces by directing their surplus baggage, trunks, valises, &c., to be returned home or sent to some place of safety. Another regiment from Georgia has been ordered to report to you, viz, Colonel Gartrell’s. It is hoped that you will be able to be timely informed of the approach of troops against you, and retire, provided they cannot be successfully opposed. You must exercise your discretion and judgment in this respect, to insure, if possible, your safety. Precise instructions cannot be given you, but, being informed of the object of the campaign, you will be able to regulate its conduct to the best advantage.

I am, general, &c.,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee, Asking for Clarification of the Role of His Command

18 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. 907-908

Headquarters,
Harper’s Ferry, Va., June 6,1861.

General R. E. Lee,
Commander-in-chief, Richmond, Va.:

General: I had the honor to receive your letter of the 3d instant by the last mail. My object in writing each of the several communications in relation to this command was to ascertain exactly the manner in which the Government wishes it to be used, no instructions having been given to me. Do these troops constitute a garrison or a corps of observation ? If the former (which your letter of the 3d implies somewhat), it is to be considered that our only defensible position has a front of nearly two miles; that the supply of ammunition is not more than sufficient to repel one vigorous assault, and that the position could not then be evacuated, as the enemy would be nearer than ourselves to the only line of retreat—that through Loudoun. If as a corps of observation, it will have a task which the best troops would find difficult, for the enemy north of us can find crossing places too numerous for this force even to observe, and, while watching them, it is likely to be cut off by the troops from Ohio, who you know are commanded by a man of great ability. The operations of these troops and those from Pennsylvania will no doubt be combined. A retreat from the presence of an enemy is the most difficult of military operations to the best troops. To very new ones it is impossible. It would very soon become a flight.

You say that “the abandonment of Harper’s Ferry would be depressing to the cause of the South.” Would not the loss of five or six thousand men be more so ? And, if they remain here, they must be captured or destroyed very soon after General McClellan’s arrival in the valley. Might it not be better (after the troops here have delayed the enemy as long by their presence as they prudently can) to transfer them to some point where they may still be useful?

We have, according to the statement of the Master of Ordnance, about forty rounds of ammunition, besides eighty-two thousand five hundred cartridges, just received, which makes an addition of about four rounds, as there are with them but twenty-two thousand five hundred caps.

Notice of the arrival of the Tennessee regiment in Winchester is just received. The colonel informs me that they are without percussion caps.

Our troops are not equipped for a campaign. More than two regiments are without cartridge-boxes. Most of them having traveled by railroad, use trunks and valises, instead of knapsacks, and few are provided with shoes fit for marching.

With money I could have obtained more caps probably. I have not thought it worth while to provide a supply of provisions out of proportion to that of ammunition.

I offer these opinions for what they are worth, thinking it my duty to present them to you, and being anxious to conform closely to whatever general plan of operations has been determined upon. I beg you, therefore, to let me understand my position.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.





Maj. Gen. Robert E. Lee to Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on Abandonment of Harper’s Ferry

16 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, p. 901

Headquarters Virginia Forces, Richmond, Va.,
June 3,1861.

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

Sir: I have received your letter of the 1st, inclosing report from Colonel Allen and a paper in relation to affairs near Grafton. In reference to the last, the latest reports received from Colonel Porterlield are more favorable than the report from Colonel Allen. A party has been ordered to secure the road at Cheat River and east of it, which I hope will effectually prevent its use. As regards Harper’s Ferry, its abandonment would be depressing to the cause of the South, and I have thought it possible that you might detach a portion of your force towards Martinsburg, the occupation of which, or a point on the Opequan, would strengthen your posts in front of Williamsport and at Shepherdstown. In addition to the First Tennessee Regiment, a regiment from Georgia has been ordered to join you.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,
General, Commanding.





Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to Col. Robert S. Garnett on Federal Movements

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. 898-899

Headquarters, Harper’s Ferry, Va.,
June 1, 1861.

Colonel Garnett, Adjutant-General Virginia Forces:

Colonel: I respectfully transmit herewith Colonel Allen’s last report, and a paper in relation to affairs near Grafton, for the information of the General Commanding-in-Chief.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

Headquarters First Infantry,
Camp Johnston, Va., May 31, 1861.

Brigadier-General Johnston:

Sir: I have the honor to report the following information, just obtained:

The Federal troops concentrated at Chambersburg number thirteen thousand. The advance guard, of three thousand, left there at l p.m. for Hagerstown, where they will encamp to-night, from which force vedettes are to be thrown into Williamsport. Two companies are said to have been sent towards the river above (point not known), supposed to be at a ford. From the accompanying map you will see our position. The ford northwest of camp is susceptible of good defense. The one opposite Williamsport can be protected without difficulty by the enemy, if they have artillery.

The communication in pencil is from a perfectly reliable source. I would wish positive instructions, and, if to make a stand, re-enforcements. My line of defense is too extended for my present force. Owing to disaffection in Captain White’s cavalry, they are not as efficient as they should be, and incompetent to guard the river.

Your most obedient servant,

J. W. ALLEN,
Colonel, First Infantry.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

Martinsburg, Va., — –, 1861.

According to the best information to be obtained here, Colonel Porterfield left Grafton last Monday, with his command, of about one thousand five hundred men. He went to Philippi, in Barbour County, where he probably awaits re-enforcements, expected from the valley. The U. S. troops from Wheeling, to the number of about two thousand, arrived at Mannington (forty miles west of Grafton) last Monday, and stopped to repair two small railroad bridges which had been destroyed near there. The repair of the bridges could not detain them over three or four days. Nothing definite is known here about the U. S. force advancing from Parkersburg to Grafton, but some of the railroad bridges on that line are believed to have been destroyed. There was no military force of either side at Grafton on Wednesday at 4 p. m.; but some of the Union men of the neighborhood were gathering there, with such arms as they could get at home.

The above information, meager as it is, is all that we have, and is reliable as far as it goes. The bridges between this and Cumberland should by all means be burned (especially the bridge over the Potomac proper). Small bridges are but a small hinderance, in point of time, to an army, and recollect the railroad is to be the means of precipitating the immense body of men from Ohio and west of Ohio, who are to occupy our Virginia. Only important bridges will present obstacles, as to time, of any material value. West of Cumberland there are also important bridges, but I fear they are in the hands of Union men, and a little force would be required.

[No signature.]





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.