that we have as great a number of volunteers in the field now in proportion to the strength of our militia as any portion of the State; yet, notwithstanding this, the whole of the militia of this brigade have been called into service, and most of them have been here near two months. We fully appreciate the condition of our country, and are willing to make any sacrifice necessary to advance the interest of the South and to secure our independence, yet we would present to you a few facts.
The valley of Virginia is a wheat-growing country, in which slave labor is scarce; consequently the larger proportion of the labor must be performed by white men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years. The time for seeding the wheat crop has arrived, and unless at least a considerable proportion of the men new here can be returned to their homes to attend to putting that crop in the ground we will be unable to raise supplies sufficient for our own subsistence.
In addition to this, we are here with not more than one-half of our men armed, and they with the most inferior, guns, so that, if we were to be attacked, we would be compelled to make an inglorious retreat, and bring upon as brave men as can be found in any county the ridicule of the public.
In view of all these facts we regard it as our duty to the men under our commands, and especially to our county, that we should make to you a simple statement, being satisfied that you will render us the relief asked for, if consisted with the interest, prosperity, and happiness of our Confederate, by permitting us for the present to return to our homes.
Colonel Second Regiment.
JAS. H. SIBERT,
Colonel Third Regiment.
Lieutenant-Colonel First Regiment.
Lieutenant-Colonel Second Regiment.
J. A. HOTTEL,
Lieutenant-Colonel Third Regiment.
CULLIN W. FINTER,
Major Second Regiment.
JOHN H. NEWELL,
Major Third Regiment.
C. P. HORN,
Major Fourth Regiment, and others.
AUGUST 27, 1861.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
Colonel Conn, of Shenandoah, is a most respectable and reliable gentleman, and wields great influence in his section of the State. He desires to consult you in regard to the disposition to be made of the militia now at Winchester. You will recollect that I sent you [August 17] a memorial from the county court of Shenandoah on this subject, with my indorsement thereon.* Any representation Colonel Conn will make to you may be implicitly relied upon for its accuracy.
*See Walker to Johnston, August 29, p. 816.