men no one possesses more the popular confidence in his courage and military capacity than General John B. Floyd. He is a native of this region. His fathers have led their fathers to battle in every war from its first white settlement. His name called into the field a brigade of volunteers which gave safety to the West. He took these soldiers to Tennessee, and the heroic defense of Donelson endeared them still more to the confidence of their friends and neighbors.
These soldiers re-enlisted for the war, but the suspension of General Floyd has scattered them through the country, and the occupation of much of the country by the enemy prevents some of them from being called again into service. Many of them, unfortunately, connect the suspension of his command with an imputation upon themselves, and this has occasioned the worst state of feeling throughout the country.
I tender you assurances which nothing except a sense of public danger would induce me to offer, that this unusual demand for the restoration of General Floyd is of the highest importance to the safety and settlement of the Southwest. It is not based on opposition to you administration. It comes from many who are the friends of the administration. It comes from the intelligence and wealth of the Southwest, from the poor and the unprotected, from a people who have forgotten politics in the danger which alarms them.
Still less does this application come from the partisans or personal friends of General Floyd. It is represented by men who have been his undeviating opponents. The letter which accompanies this is addressed by four gentlemen who are or have been members of the general court of Virginia. They have been deputed to ask the restoration of General Floyd, and it so happens that all of them have been his political opponents.
For myself, I have been separated from General Floyd by a radical difference of political principle. The revolution in which these differences have perished has also consumed any feeling of personal or party animosity, and I have deemed it my duty to unite with my fellow-citizens in the application which I have the honor to communicate.
I therefore, Mr. President, respectfully beg leave to request that General John B. Floyd be restored to his command, and that he be assigned such local forces, to be organized and composed in such a manner as may meet your approval. I further hope that it may be your pleasure to order such forces to be employed in Southwestern Virginia for the purposes indicated in this and the accompanying communications.
I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect, your most obedient servant,
WM. BALLARD PRESTON,
SECRETARY OF WAR:
Two inclosures. These and other papers treat the case as adjudged instead of postponed for information. When the reports called for are received they will be considered in connection with these statements.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
ABINGDON, April 26, 1862
WILLIAM BALLARD PRESTON:
MY DEAR BALLARD: I wrote you some days ago about Floyd's brigade (the brigade chiefly). I must renew the subject. The country
33 R R-VOL X, PT II