no longer arrayed against relations who have joined the Federal Army in Kentucky and with examples of true patriotism about them, these men will become good and loyal soldiers. For these reasons your regiment is ordered to Savannah, Ga.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. BELTON,
RICHMOND, May 11, 1862
His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES:
SIR: I address you as one deeply interested in the success of the Confederate cause,and as a citizen of a section of country of great importance in the present contest, and threatened with immediate invasion by the enemy.
Southwestern Virginia comprises a most fertile country. It furnishes a large part of the supplies and horses of an army. It contains almost the only deposits of salt, lead, and saltpeter relied on for prosecuting the war. It is the largest slave-holding community in Western Virginia. It commands the chief line of communication which connects the eastern with the western and southwestern sections of the Confederacy, and it is inhabited by a brave and loyal people, who have fought and fallen on every field from the Shenandoah and Manassas to Donelson and the Peninsula.
From these statements it will be difficult to overestimate the value of this country either to the Commonwealth of Virginia or to the Confederate Government. Its invaluable possessions and the absence of its patriotic sons have already attracted the designs of the enemy.
At an early period of the war strong efforts were made to enter Western Virginia. The enemy unfortunately excluded us from the salines, coal mines, and supplies of the Kanawha, but his advance was checked by the valor of our troops, commanded by General John B. Floyd, at the battles of Cross Lanes, and the defense of Gauley River.
Since the last campaign the Confederate Government has stationed a small force for the protection of this superior country, and the enemy have been collecting supplies at a point (Raleigh Court-House) calculated to form the base of a formidable invasion into Southwester Virginia.
Within a few weeks past a marauding incursion has advanced and penetrated within 2 miles of the salines and lead mines, and it now threatens the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad at Dublin Depot.
The Confederate troops have offered no material impediment to this incursion. The defense of our country has been committed to the General Government; our best troops are held in reserve by the act of conscription; our State arms have been chiefly transferred to the common defense. We are thus trammeled and disarmed.
Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the people of Southwestern Virginia should experience the greatest anxiety and alarm; that they should complain of officers who have passed the winter without an enterprise against a small hostile force in immediate proximity, who have failed to employ the natural strength of the country to resist the foe at every step, and who naturally feel no further obligation to defend the country than the professional and patriotic one to comply with the formal proprieties of warfare.
It is also natural that the people should in such an extremity turn for succor to men tried and trusted amongst them. Amongst those