WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., June 10, 1863.
J. M. JEFFRIES, Esq.,
Spring Farm, King and Queen County, Va.:
SIR: Your letter of the 1st instant has been received and considered. It is most painful to the Government to be unable to render full protection against these marauding raids of worse than a brigand foe; as you must, on reflection, readily see, it is impossible, with the limited resources of the Government, all of which are imperatively needed on the great fields of conflict, to spare scattered forces for local defense. Not even companies, much less regiments, can be spared; and only occasional aid in cases of actual inroads can be furnished, and they but too frequently come too late. The true reliance of the people must be on themselves and their local organizations for homo defense. It will soon be found that a very small number of resolute men in a wooded country known to them can effectively stop, and punish fearfully, even a large detachment of marauding cavalry. These raiders are worse than savage beasts, mere ravening wolves, and deserve to be so treated.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
GENERAL ORDERS.] ADJT. GENERAL `S OFFICE, [STATE OF] VIRGINIA, Richmond, Va., June 10, 1863.
Commandants of regiments of the line are required immediately to cause weekly musters to be held in each company district of their respective regiments, and to have the men kept on duty, and drilled, not exceeding two hours each day. Every man from eighteen to forty-five years, inclusive, who has not been enrolled as a conscript, whether he has furnished a substitute or not, is bound, and must be held to the performance of this duty. (See Code, 1860, ch. 29, sec. 7, p. 163.) Those who claim, or have heretofore received, exemptions upon any ground, are required to be re-examined by the local boards appointed under the act of October 1, 1862.
Commandants of regiments are required carefully to ascertain who are subject to military duty, and to enforce, if needful, the performance of that duty promptly and effectively upon all.
Where companies are not too much reduced, vacancies in the line of company officers must be filled by elections, as prescribed by law. Where they have been reduced below the minimum, two or more, composed of the men of adjacent company districts sufficient to form a company, will be consolidated, elect officers, and the commandants of regiments will assign to those officers the duty of conducting the weekly drills within the company districts as they now stand, or, if it be more conducive to the convenience of the men, the commandant of the regiment may, at their request, rearrange the company districts as will best promote that con-venience.
This is a preliminary measure of urgent necessity, and to meet a requisition of the President for 8, 000 militia, to be mustered into service on the 1st of August next. But as the President is authorized by acts of Congress of August 21, 1861, and October 13, 1862, to accept the services of volunteer companies for local defense, the Governor recommends to those who are subject to duty under the militia