War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0926 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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RICHMOND, October 29, 1861.

General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Centerville:

Just received a dispatch from General Huger informing me that thirty-six steamers and one transport steamer have gone to sea this morning and two went yesterday. This, I think, removes all probability of an attack on the Lower Potomac or the Rappahannock.

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Acting Secretary of War.

RICHMOND, October 29, 1861.

General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Centreville, Va.:

MY DEAR SIR: I have just seen General Wigfall, and find from my conversation with him that you cannot have understood my note in relation to Captain Montgomery. I had no funds in the appropriations from which I could pay for recruiting, and not knowing what to do with him, left him subject to your orders, but with no idea of interfering in any way with any arrangement you night make for the command of the battery. I merely suggested (not knowing that there was any charge against him) that it might be well to let him learn how to mange his battery under the command of the officer you had chosen, but even this was a mere suggestion, to be adopted or not at your discretion. Wigfall says that the men won't obey Montgomery, and that he is not fit to command, but that you wish to avoid a court-martial, as they are ineffective and troublesome machines with volunteers. This may all be very true, but what are we to do? I know of no other means of getting rid of an incompetent or unworthy officer. The President has no power to dismiss him. I leave the whole matter to you to do the best you can, and have written these few lines only to remove the impression that I desired at all to interfere with the command of the battery, as ordered by you.

I have explained to Wigfall that the two Texas regiments remaining here ave ben detained solely to aid in repulsing the enemy in the event of his landing on the Peninsula or on the coast of North Carolina, in the rear of our defenses at Norfolk. By Thursday evening we shall known positively whether they have gone farther south than Hatteras, in which event I will send you up the tow regiments immediately. I will also, I hope, have two or three Georgia regiments here about the same time to receive the arms you have on hand.

I have told General Cooper to let you retain General Jackson during the present emergency, but as soon as the battle is fought, or all chance of conflict is at an end, I am anxious to get him into the Valley District, where he enjoys the fullest confidence of the people, and where were hope with his aid to organize a very respectable force.

Yours, &c.,

J. P. BENJAMIN.

RICHMOND, October 29, 1861.

Colonel ANGUS W. McDONALD, Winchester, Va.:

COLONEL: I am desired to inform you, in answer to your communication of the 20th instant, that Major General T. J. Jackson has been ordered to the command of the Valley District, extending from the Blue Ridge to the Alleghany Mountains, with full powers to act in all .