JULY 26, 1864.
SECRETARY OF WAR:
The subject of the within has long since caused me much and anxious reflection. To assemble a small force in the Northern Neck would be worse than useless. The condition of our military affairs does not permit the detachment of a large one from the main body of the army. The veteran regiments of Virginia are entitled to and sorely need recruits. The remedy, therefore, has seemed to me to be the quasi organization of all non-conscripts as minute-men for home defense. Each should remain at his residence with his arms ready, and in an emergency all should turn out, meet at appointed rendezvous to repel raiders, and execute a summary punishment on such criminals as are described in this memorial. The duty having been performed, the defenders would return to their homes and leave behind them nothing against [which] an army governed by the usages of war could operate. With due caution and secrecy spies would be unable to discover by whom the resistance had been made. Please reply to the committee and assure them of my deep sympathy and of the sorrow I feel at my inability to give them ample protection.
A battery reply cannot be given than to transmit the above indorsement. Acknowledge the letter and that it has been referred to me for answer, and give the above with assurance likewise that the Department fully sympathizes and is doing all in its power to organize reserves and supply arms, &c., for home defense.
J. A. S.,
GENERAL ORDERS, ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Numbers 57. Richmond, June 30, 1864.
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XI. The reserve forces of the several States are under the permanent direction and control of the general officers respectively assigned to their command by the President.
Department, district, and other commanders of the active forces may have, for the time being, the direction of the military movements of such reserve forces as may be turned over to their command for service, but are forbidden to disband those forces, or otherwise, interfere with any matters pertaining to their permanent organization, except with the concurrence of the general commanding the general commanding the reserves of a State.
XII. when no longer required for service with the active forces the reserve troops will be immediately turned over to the commander of reserves for the State.
XIII. General officers commanding reserves for the several States will be held responsible in all matters relating to the efficiency and permanent organization of their commands.