It will be necessary for you to keep yourself informed of the enemy's movements on this side of the river, so as to secure this road against his approach. On reaching Meadow Bluff I will inform you of the probable time of my return to Richmond.
Should your descent on the Kanawha cause the enemy's to withdraw form the Gauley, as I believe it will, it will tend to the gather security of this section.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,.
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, October 21, 1861.
Major-General JACKSON, Manassas:
SIR: The exposed condition of the Virginia frontier between the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains has excited the deepest solicitude of the Government, and the constant appeals of the inhabitants that we should send a perfectly reliabel officer for their protection have induced the Department to form a new military district, which is called the Valley District of the Department of Northern Virginia. In selecting an officer for this command the choice of the Government has fallen on you. This chose has been dictated, not only by a just appreciation of you qualities as a commander, but by other weighty considerations. Your intimate knowledge of the country, of its population and resources, rendered you peculiarly fitted to assume this command. Nor is this all. The people of that district, with one voice, have made constant and urgent appeals that to you, in whom they have confidence, should their defense be assigned. The administration shares the regret which you will no doubt feel at being separated from your command when there is a probability of early engagement between the opposing armies, but it feels confident that you will cheerfully yield your private wishes to your country's service in the sphere where you can be rendered most available.
In assuming the command to which you have been assigned by general orders, although your forces will for the present be small, they will be increased as rapidly as our means will possibly admit, whilst the people will themselves rally eagerly to your standard as soon as it is known that you are to command. In a few days detailed instructions will be sent you through the Adjutant-General, and I will be glad to receive any suggestions you may make to render effectual your measures of defense.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,.
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Acting Secretary of War.
Centreville, October 21, 1861.
Cannot Ransom's regiment of North Carolina cavalry be ordered to report to me forthwith? The enemy's right was yesterday at Dranesville.
J. E. JOHNSTON. .