fill the public ear with clamors on the subject, trusting that very soon harmony of interest and patriotism would produce between that force and my own concert and usefulness of action; and I deeply regret that the libel of the Governor on my conduct and motives constrains me now to depart from the preferable policy of silence, and to beg you, if in your judgment it is consistent with the public interests, to suffer this letter to be published in the papers, or presented to the State legislature for my justification.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
Respectfully submitted tote president. I think it improper for the Department to authorize the publication of the letter as it stands, and do not feel authorized to expurgate it.
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
Returned to Secretary of War for such conference with General Loring as may be deemed advisable. Officers have a right to claim the protection of the War Department, so far as their conduct justifies it, but none to involve it in useless controversy or extraneous issues.
Send a copy to General Loring, and suggest that the words "wanton and unfounded," first paragraph, be omitted; that the word "statement" be submitted for "misstatements," second paragraph, third line from the bottom; that all of the last paragraph, except the first sentence ending with the word "enemy," be omitted, and the letter published.
G. W. R.
September 22, 1862. (Received September 29, 1862.)
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I am to-day moving a part of my army toward the mouth of the Kanawha. A reconnaissance of my cavalry reports the enemy in position and strength at Point Pleasant. I have been active in restoring the laws over the region, and recruiting for the army and scouting the country toward the northwest and the Baltimore railroad.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Camp on the Opequon, near Smoketown, September 22, 1862.
His Excellency President DAVIS,
Mr. PRESIDENT: In connection with the subject of straggling, about which I had the honor to write to you again yesterday,* the destruction of private property by the army has occupied much of my attention. A great deal of damage to citizens is done by stragglers, who consume
*See Part I, p. 142.