General Boyle has issued an order to the families of all men who are in the Confederate service or who intend living in the Confederate States to leave Kentucky by September 1, or they will be expelled or imprisoned. They are imprisoning females in the State. It is our moment of trial, and unless we strike our friends must be overwhelmed. I have a strong apprehension you will not strengthen my column. I think it should not be so, but I submit to your broader view of your duties in administration. I may overestimate the importance of Kentucky to the welfare of the Confederacy.
If re-enforcements can be sent, even two or three regiments, I hope you will do all in your power to forward them as soon as possible. I think I shall have near 5,000 men when Leyden brings up his battalion from Georgia. I may fall short of this number somewhat. If my column was put up to 10,000 men I should have very great confidence in my success at once, but I do not despair as it is, and will risk the effort. The news I have is that the people of the mountains in Kentucky, where I was last fall and winter, are excited and can be induced now to come into the contest, but we must have arms. I request that you will cause 5,000 stand of arms [Enfield rifles and muskets] to be sent to me here at once. I will move them forward by degrees as I get the men to use them, but I don't want any mistake about having them at hand when I need them.
I have a petition here from five captains of cavalry, who have companies in my camp, desiring liberty to form a battalion, and if they can to expand it to a regiment. I have not felt it proper, as these volunteers are all Virginians, to allow the organization without your approbation, as it would add to the number of Virginia regiments without materially adding to her men; still, as these are volunteers and come organized into companies of legal size and as I can use them, I think it would be well to authorize their organization into a battalion or regiment. The same can be said of a battalion of mounted rifles, of which I hear there are some five or six companies already formed.
I think it discreet also to ask your advice and opinion on another point. A man by the name of Menifee is in Kentucky recruiting for General Floyd's Virginia State Line, and has gathered some 300 men in the mountains. He has committed violence on private property, taking all the property, for instance, from the store of a citizen of Kentucky and in a Kentucky town, and is now moving forward on the line of my contemplated movement, I have no doubt plundering and exciting the whole country. I have written to the colonel commanding the Fifth Kentucky at Piketon, to warn him that if his troops are intended to enter Floyd's command in Virginia he must repair with his command to Virginia and report to his superior officer, and that I will not permit an independent band to go in front of my lines, pursuing its own policy and arousing prejudices against us by its lawless conduct. Suppose I have to use force to arrest and expel this person and his force, should I be justifiable? I want your opinion as a military man. Floyd is taking all he can get from this quarter. They raise partisan rangers under authority from General Loring, and march the command when raised off to Floyd's camp as part of the troops raised for him and swear them in for twelve months. I do not seek to interfere, as I am only here temporarily, but it is exceedingly detrimental to the service of the Confederacy, and Governor Letcher ought to have it stopped.
Send me the small-arms, if you please, without delay.
Truly, yours, &c.,