STAUNTON, VA., September 25, 1861.
SIR: By an order of General Jackson I have brought the two companies (I and K) of the Twentieth Regiment Virginia Volunteers to this place, to await further orders. From the fact that the two companies have been ordered from active service to this place, I ask leave to submit to you, sir, a report of their condition. They have been engaged in active duties since the 3rd of June last.
After our disastrous retreat from Rich Mountain all the companies of the Twentieth Regiment asked to return home for the purpose of recruiting, except Companies I and K. We were ordered to form a separate battalion, and to act as a guard to Captain Shumaker's battery of Danville artillery, which position we have occupied ever since, up to the late order of General Jackson. Shortly after our retreat, before the men could recover from could contracted from exposure, the measles broke out in our company. In Company I alone there were 50 cases. The men have mostly recovered from the measles, but the debility consequent upon this disease has left them unfit for the hard service of the northwest.
There are at present here now 38 men, rank and file, of Company I. Of this number there are not more than 25 who would be fit for duty. The most of the company were granted furloughs from this place and Richmond, and from last accounts they were, or most of them, convalescent. The same statement is true of Company K. Besides the sickness in Company I at this time 7 have died and 6 were taken prisoners. Company K is under command of first lieutenant in Company i, it being destitute of a commander. Two of their lieutenants were take prisoners at Rich Mountain. The other has since died. Their captain has been lying in Richmond sick for the last two or three weeks.
In view of all these facts I most respectfully suggest that if it is not the purpose of the Government to muster these companies out of service, they be permitted to visit their homes under a furlough for thirty days, to recruit their health and attend to their business-such as would need their immediate presence to transact. I will further say that, under favorable circumstances, in thirty days each of these companies ought to report at least 60 men, rank and file.
Captain, Commanding Companies I and K, Twentieth Reg't Va. Vols.
RICHMOND, VA., September 25, 1861.
JACOB VAN METER and others,
Hardy County, Virginia:
GENTLEMAN: In reply to your memorial [of 10th instant] to the President, I have to say that it is hoped the expectations entertained by the citizens of Hardy County with regard to the operation of General Lee's army will be realized, but in any event attention will be given to their exposed condition at the earliest possible moment.
A. T. BLEDSOE,
Chief of Bureau of War.