Numbers 42.] HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE KANAWHA,
Camp Walker, Va., September 12, 1861.
Brigadier General HENRY A. WISE:
DEAR SIR: I get information this evening from Carnifix Ferry (where I stationed this morning a pretty strong guard) that the enemy are attempting to cross the river. It becomes necessary that a prompt and definite line of action should be at once determined upon and executed. May I ask the favor of you to come down this evening, and bring such officers as you choose to join us in council? Thus we may determine what is best to be done and put the plan into execution at once.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
JOHN B. FLOYD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Army of the Kanawha.
[NOTE.-After or at the consultation here spoken of, and as its result, verbal orders were given by General Floyd for the whole command to fall back to the top of Big Sewell, in the direction of Meadow Bluff, which was done on September 13.-D. B. L.]
RICHMOND, VA., September 13, 1861.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Yours of the 10th instant* is before me, and I can only suppose you have been deceived by some one of that class in whose absence "the strife ceaseth." While you were in the valley of Virginia your army and that of General Beauregard were independent commands; when you marched to Manassas the forces joined and did duty together. I trust the two officers highest in military rank at Richmond were too well informed to have doubted in either case as to your power and duty. Persons have talked here of the command of yourself and Beauregard as separate armies, and complaints have been uttered to the effect that you took the re-enforcements and guns for your own army; but to educated soldiers this could only seem the muttering of the uninstructed, the rivalry of those who did not comprehend that unity was a necessity, a law of existence. Not having heard accusations, I am, like yourself, ignorant of the specifications, and will add that I do not believe any disposition has existed on the part of the gentlemen to whom you refer to criticism, still less to detract, from you. If they believed that you did not exercise command over the whole, it was, I doubt not, ascribed to delicacy.
You are not mistaken in your construction of my letters having been written to you as the commanding general. I have, however, sometimes had to repel the idea that there was a want of co-operation between yourself and the second in command, or a want of recognition of your position as the senior and commanding general of all the forces serving at or near to the field of your late brilliant achievements.
While writing it occurs to me that statements have been made and official applications received in relation to staff officers which suggested a continuance of separation rather than unity in the "Army of the Potomac."
I did not understand your suggestion as to a commander-in-chief for