You say that you was informed that I had issued a general order to the officers of my command not to communicate information of any kind directly to you, but first through me only. Permit me, respectfully, to say that had you required me to inform you what general orders I had issued, I would have copied and sent to you the following General Orders, Numbers 82, the only one relating to the matter which I had issued, and which will assure you how erroneous was the information given you of its character, to wit:
GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS WISE'S BRIGADE,
White Sulphur Springs, Va., August 14, 1861.
Numbers 82. .
General John B. Floyd, senior in commission to General Wise, having assumed command of the Department of the Kanawha Valley, will be obeyed and respected accordingly. All orders from him to this brigade, and all reports from this brigade to him, will pass through General Wise, or through the officer at the time commanding..
By order, & c.
Thus, you see, sir, that my order applied not only to me Legion, but to the entire brigade commanded by me, and that, so far from requiring my officers to disobey the orders of my superior, it expressly enjoins both obedience and respect, and prescribed only the proper formality to secure both to the command of my superior. And now, in respect to detaching portions of my command and removing them from my immediate orders, I refer you again to instructions to me from General Lee. In the same letter, of August 14, 1861 (the day of my general orders), in which he said, "as regards the command of your brigade, the military propriety of communicating through you all orders for its movement is so apparent, that I think no orders on the subject necessary," he adds:
I have always supposed that it was the intention of the President to give a distinct organization to your Legion, and for it to be under your command, subject of course to do service under the orders of a senior officer. General Floyd, I think, understands this, and I apprehend no embarrassment on the subject.
He also adds, in contrast or opposition to this:
As regards the troops hitherto with your Legion (meaning the State volunteers and militia), it is within the province of the commanding general to continue them, as hitherto, under your command, to brigade them separately, or detach them, as the good of the service may require.
Thus, sir, I am instructed to command my Legion as a distinct organization, subject to do service under the orders of a senior officer, communicated through me. It cannot be discontinued from my command except by orders of the President or by due course of military law. It cannot be brigaded separately or detached from my command, in whole or in part, by a senior only, for, if it may be detached in part, it may be in the whole, and a junior brigade might be dissolved by being detached, so as to merge it into the senior. Nor can it be mingled with your command, except to unite in the service, under your orders, passed through me, for it is a distinct organization. But as respects the State volunteer forces and the militia the case is otherwise. As yet there have been no orders from you to discontinue my command of them, but you may so order, or you may brigade them or detach them. In respect to these troops, I will cheerfully accede to either order and obey it promptly. But in respect to my Legion, sir, I must respect my sense of duty to maintain its command as my own, subject to your superior orders to do service. Its entirety will be maintained by me, and I will not consent to the whole or any part of it being detached. If the contrary is claimed as your province, I will judge of the propriety of appealing to the superiors of both you and myself in command. In the mean.