War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0834 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. LA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

troops, &c., in case deem it advisable, or be forced to take a position secure from being turned, on the one side through Franklin, and on the other through Huntersville. The object of this examination must be concealed, so as not to excite either alarm or apprehension, and be viewed on your part as merely precautionary. Should you ascertain that the Shenandoah affords the best position in your rear for defending the approaches to Stauton, and preparations can be made for its occupation by your troops without disclosing your views to the enemy, it will be well for you to do so.

I need not urge upon you the necessity of keeping yourself advised of the movements of the enemy of using every means in your power to thwart and defeat him, of increasing your own forces, and putting your army in the best condition possible for the opening campaign.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF LEWISBURG,

Lewisburg, March 21, 1862.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding General, C. S. Forces, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: I have made several requisitions for ordnance and ordnance stores for this and the New River District, but have thus far been unsuccessful. I believe Colonel Gorgas has done all that he can to aide me, but it is proper that you should be at once informed of the destitute condition we are in for artillery. To defend the approaches to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad from Gauley we have only one piece of artillery, an iron 6-pounder gun, left (abandoned) by General Floyd, in consequence of its condition. There is not a man on this line, or on that leading to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, who has, as far as I know, ever served as an artillerist. Colonel Gorgas, in a letter dated 3rd instant, says a battery of four pieces, with carriages caissons, and fixtures complete, would be ready about the 15th proximo (15th of April). This will in all probability be too late. In my letter of the 18th I gave you full information of my force.

Permit me to make a suggestion respecting the defense of this portion of Western Virginia. If the Government is unable to send a force sufficient to defend the several lines menaced, it appears to me that a whose policy would be to select the most important line of defense and at once concentrate the troops on that line. You are perfectly aware that 300 or 400 men, aided by 1,500 militia, cannot defence the approaches to Lewisburg against a force of 5,000 or 6,000 of the enemy. The same state of things exists on the approaches to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. In attempting to defend all, the most important, I fear, will far. Certainly it would be preferable to let the enemy get possession of this line as far as Jackson's River than for him to tap the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad at Dublin Depot or Wytheville; and that he will get possession of one of these points is certain unless the force on that line is increased. From everything that I can learn the enemy will very soon make a bold and vigorous effort to reach the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad at the same time that he menaces Lewisburg.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. HETH,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.