under Captain Killinger, and Captain Killinger writes me that he and his men prefer to come to this, if permitted.
I inclose copy of an order issued by me to the colonels commanding militia regiments in Washington County to put a stop ad apply a partial corrective to this manner of abducting the only material out of which an army can possibly be formed here.
Very disreputable efforts have been made to prejudice this whole section of country against me. I was attending to my duties and perfectly unconscious of surprise that I was not addicted to habits of intemperance. I found, sir, that I had an established reputation over this whole country as one who constantly drank to excess; whereas the truth is there is not probably a more temperate man in the Southern Confederacy than I am and always have been, nor one certainly who holds excess in drinking in more absolute abhorrence than I do.
I found that people who had never seen me had been so plied by effort that they went into military service elsewhere just to escape me. I found that printed circulares had been busily presented in the militia camps for signature, and had obtained them, requesting the President to place General Floyd in command in this section of Virginia, and that in fact the militia had been told if they would sign that and Floyd should be placed in command he would let them all go home and plant, &c. I found a general idea prevailing that I would carry the people over the mountains or that I would abandon the exterior of these counties to the enemy. In fine, general, every conceivable species of defamation had preceded me, just to effect the object the parties, whoever they were, had in view, the victims being myself and the Government; the winners, those who wanted me crippled and another to be provided for.
I do not know that Brigadier-General Floyd, who is at Abingdon, had any knowledge of any of these proceedings, and I am bound to presume he has not; for such knowledge would justly degrade him in the estimation of all honorable men. I rather suspect it has been the machinations of imprudent and interested men, whose object was self-aggrandizement in some form of preferment or another,and who have not properly estimated the injury that might be inflicted upon the general cause by a gross act of individual injustice.
Be that all as it may, I have only to denounce to you whoever was engaged in the business and to make the proper remarks in vindicating my own reputation. I am happy also to be able to say the popular reaction was most satisfactory to my friends and acquaintances, and that the people made voluntary exposures of the delusion under which their opinions prejudicial to me had been formed. I feel every confidence in being able to sustain myself whenever I am placed in contact with the people.
I don't want any misapprehension to exist at the seat of Government by reason of the efforts of intrigue I have now exposed. You know that I am utterly indifferent as to the disposition of the chief command in this section or any other, for I have my own status, and it is not for me to affect the disposition of commands; but I am not indifferent to the means whereby such commands are disposed of, if those means affect me in any way.
I desire that you shall sustain my order to the colonels of militia, by transferring to my command the volunteers who have been raised in these counties who have not yet left this part of the State, and that you will prohibit, or expressly authorize me to do so, the further recruiting for other commands in these counties, and also that you will