court-house in Russell,and after a time I went among them in person and made a speech to them. I succeeded in changing the current of their opinions, and, instead of disbanding them, I induced them to entertain some esprit de corps, and to re-enlist for the war on the basis of general service. I raised in one day from the battalion a company of 94 men, who organized on the spot, electing Captain Slemp as their captain. The next day 67 more began a company, of which Captain Pridemore will be made captain when it expands to 100, and 51 more began a company for Captain Russell. These men are from Scott and Lee Counties entirely. Thus you see I obtained volunteers for the war to the number of 212 out of this skeleton battalion of special-service men, and I never have seen finer material in my life. In Slemp's 94 men there were but two over thirty years of age, and all between that and eighteen, generally ranging from eighteen to twenty-three. I gave all furloughs for thirty days. I directed the battalion of special-service men to be mustered for pay up to that day, and when the muster was completed I made an order placing all who had not chosen to re-enlist into one company, of which I assigned the command to Captain Maness. I discharged from service all boys under eighteen and all men over forty-five who were in the battalion; so that I now have one company of special-service men only, and I hear that most of these have indicated a determination to re-enlist generally for the war, but I am not yet sure of the fact. I gave to Pridemore and Russell time to fill out their companies in Scott and Lee Counties,and I have no doubt they will succeed.
I started for Janesville in person, and had progressed to within 27 miles of it when a courier brought me a telegraphic dispatch announcing the promotion of General Breckinridge and Colonel Williams. Presuming that these appointments would probably demand in some way immediate change of arrangements here, I abandoned my visit to Lee and returned to my post at this place. I do not entertain any fear that the officers alluded to will obtain companies unless gentlemen from Floyd's brigade have already taken all the young men from the county. I hear that there are many volunteers enlisted in that county to fill up regiments now in the field and that many have not yet left home. But for your letter of the 21st I should not have hesitated to take those volunteers for my own command and for the defense of the country of which I am in charge so long as I remain in it. Now, I shall not interfere with re-enlistments by anybody, and fear much that the Pound Gap battalion will not expand into a regiment. In order to form it my calculation has been to use the following: 1st, Slemp's company; 2nd, Russell's company; 3rd, Pridemore's company; 4th, Gray's company; 5th, Haynes' company (these are all from Scott and Lee); 6th, Perey's company, from Tazewell; 7th, Cornutt's company, from Grayson; 8th, one company from Carroll (I forget the captain's name, but the company was raised or organized by me); 9th, Ratliff's company, from Buchanan and McDowell (now numbering about 60 men); and, 10th, Killinger's company, from Smyth.
The object of my visit to Lee was to try to raise a company to take Killinger's place, so as to let him go into McMahon's regiment.
You see how nearly I had accomplished the work without interfering with recruits already gone to other corps. If those could be stopped who have not gone already the work would have been completed perfectly by the 10th of May. Cornutt's, Perey's, Gray's, Hayne's, Slemp's, the Carroll company are already actually in the field for the war, and organized and on duty. I thought you approved