CLARKSBURG, VA., May 21, 1862.
Colonel ALBERT TRACY, Asst. Adjt. General, Franklin, Va.:
COLONEL: Inclosed you will find copy of a letter directed to me from Colonel J. C. Rathbone, dated at Spencer, Roane County, Virginia, the 18th instant,* inclosing a memorandum of an agreement between himself, as commandant of the Federal forces at that place, and Captain George Downs, commanding the Confederate State Rangers, for a cessation of hostilities for eight days. You will also find a copy of my reply to Colonel Rathbone, dated at Weston, Lewis County, Virginia, the 19th instant. I presume that Colonel Rathbone was led to commit the mistake through the advice of Judge Brown, who is holding the circuit court at Spencer at this time for the county of Roane, as I find the contract between him and Captain Downs is in the handwriting of Judge Brown.
I trust that my reply to Colonel Rathbone will be approved by the general, as it is the opinion of most of the leading Union men residing in the neighboring counties that such a course is our best policy. It is the course we have invariably adopted heretofore in all the counties we have re-established the civil courts and won the people back to their true allegiance. As I advised you this morning by telegraph, I am perfectly satisfied that a large majority of men accompanying Downs will be glad to avail themselves of the opportunity to desert him and return to their homes and families and become quiet and loyal citizens.
The population of the counties of Roane, Gilmer, Braxton, Webster, and Calhoun is very sparse, and only one remove above the savage, many of whom cannot read. Judge Jackson and Auditor Bennett had poisoned the minds of these people by public speeches delivered in these counties, in which they made this poor, ignorant population believe that secession was pure, unadulterated democracy.
I will await here a few days in order to be fully advised of the movements of Colonel Rathbone. Please communicate with me at this place.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
B. F. KELLEY,
It is agreed by and between Colonel J. C. Rathbone, commanding United States forces in Roane and Calhoun and adjacent counties, and Captain George Downs, commanding Confederate forces in said counties, that all hostilities shall cease between them and their respective forces in said counties for and during the space of eight days from this date, and each party is to preserve the peace and good order of the community in the mean time. And if this truce between the parties and their respective forces shall continue longer than the time specified the parties shall give each other notice thereof, ratified and approved by General Kelley, commanding United States forces in the Railroad District, without whose consent and ratification no continuance of this truce shall be had unless by the mutual agreement of the parties hereto, which notice shall be given at the dwelling-house of William Starcher, in Calhoun County, Virginia.
Given under our hands this 18th day of May, 1862, at Spencer, in Roane County.
J. C. RATHBONE,
Colonel Eleventh Virginia Infantry.
Commanding Confederate States Rangers.