remove the troops from the unhealthy atmosphere of the valley of Bull Run and to be ready to turn the enemy's position and advance into Maryland whenever the strength of this army would justify it. By ordering the troops forward, besides securing healthy and comfortable locations, we could keep better watch over the enemy and maintain an attitude in accordance with our recent victory. Thus far the numbers and condition of this army have at no time justified our assuming the offensive. To do so would require more men and munitions.
We are not now in a strong defensive position either to fight a battle or to hold the enemy in check. The position was occupied for a different purpose. It is now necessary to decide definitely whether we are to advance or fall back to a more defensible line. There are very grave and serious objections to the latter course, and the ides even should not be entertained until after it is finally determined to be impracticable to place this army in such condition as would justify its taking at an early day the active offensive. The difficulty of obtaining the means of establishing a battery near Evansport and length of time required for the collection of those means have given me the impression that you cannot at present put this army in condition to assume the offensive. If I am mistaken in this, and you can furnish those means, I think it important that either his excellency the President of the Confederate States, yourself, or some one representing you, should here upon the ground confer with me in regard to this all-important question. I send this by an officer of my staff, who can give you detailed information in regard to the positions now occupied by the troops under my command. I beg you to write an answer by the officer who will deliver this as soon as may be convenient to you.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
DUMFRIES, September 27, 1861.
President JEFFERSON DAVIS:
Colonel Hampton's battery, at the mouth of Powell's Run, on my left, opened on several small vessels passing yesterday. The war steamers of Lincoln's hug the Maryland shore and remain silent. The Long Tom is moved this morning farther down the river. My command are looking over into Maryland as the promised land. Major Marshall is with me.
L. T. WIGFALL,
[Colonel First Texas Infantry.]
FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, September 28, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
MY DEAR SIR: Your favor of the 24th instant has only this day been received, and in accordance with your suggestion General Johnston and myself have prepared a list of major and brigadier generals which we hope will be approved of by the President and yourself, for they have been selected entirely according to their reputation and merit as officers. They have few equals, and none superior, in any service. What.