LEBANON, VA., April 10, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding C. S. Army, Richmond:
GENERAL: Since my last I have been in person through Tazewell, Smyth, and Washington Counties, meeting and addressing the militia which had assembled under my call. I met at the same rendezvous the militia from Scott, Grayson, and Carroll Counties. I sent Colonel Henry S. Bowen to Buchanan County, who reports that he thinks I will enroll some 300 loyal men in that county. My point has been gained practically by the call. I have succeeded in getting from the militia a good number of volunteers for the war, and I have ascertained the approximate reliable militia strength of the country in which I am for the time operating, and this I have reorganized, so as to have it placed in readiness for service whenever called again. It will not exceed 3,000 nor fall short of 2,000.
The news received from the enemy on the Sandy justified my permission to the militia, when so reorganized, to return to their homes to plant their corps, and I have accordingly already dismissed all except from Lee, Wise, Buchanan, and Wythe, to which last place I start this morning to meet General Heth, who desires to see me on official business. While there I shall discharge that militia also, if it is yet in the field.
My conscription has been mainly confined to a gentle pressure upon the young unmarried men of the country. I have only brought seven of these by draft into the field in the whole range of the counties under my command, and I only did that in those instances because in some of the cases they positively refused because they thought their property should protect them from service. In one case because the party had taken the oath when administered to him by the enemy in Kentucky, he being there engaged as a schoolmaster; in all the cases because the people could see no excuse for my making any distinction. I had said to the people the most just classification my mind suggested for the replenishing my command from the militia was to call, 1st, on the unmarried men of the country; 2nd, on married men without children; 3rd, on men with families whose age subjected them to duty, and that I did call on them to volunteer from the ranks as thus classified, or I should draft from the classes until they were exhausted or my wants supplied. I then stated my wants, and the manner in which I had apportioned the counties under my command so as to supply them. I said to them that when the young men of the county would raise me a full company from their ranks for the war I would receive them as a company, and could attach them to my regiments which had not been filled, for Colonel Moore's regiment wanted actually four companies to fill it out to a regiment, as I had not, for reasons heretofore given, ever attached the Pound Gap battalion to his command.
I raised in this way in Russell County a company, under Captain Smith, of more than a hundred rank and file (I think it is 118 strong); a company of cavalry (64 rank and file), who elected Otis Caldwell their captain (I have not yet seen them mounted), and a squad of about 71, who want to elect their officers. I think the absentees from the militia muster when apprehended and brought in will give me a number of volunteer sufficient to make this company full also. When these are all taken from the militia the residue of the militia of Russell affords only 405 men, whom I have organized into four companies and have dismissed to their homes. The new volunteers go at once to the field for the war. I only drafted 4 men. They were the only single