War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 0712 N. AND SE. VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

for the defense of this frontier. Annoyances are liable to occur from guerrilla parties, who move at night, but who cannot inflict much damage, and these annoyances will occur if the force was doubled. It is a long line of frontier, and a very sensitive one.

P. H. SHERIDAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

(Copy to General Halleck.)

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington City, February 26, 1865-2.30 p.m.

General SHERIDAN,

Winchester:

It is proposed to assign General Hancock temporarily to the command of the Department of West Virginia and of the Military Division in your absence. He will leave here for Winchester at 3 o'clock.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington City, February 26, 1865-3 p.m.

General SHERIDAN,

Winchester:

This Department has just received the following communication from the Governor of Pennsylvania:

WASHINGTON, February 25, 1865.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: Under the authority given the executive of Pennsylvania an effort was made last autumn to organize a body of troops for the immediate protection of the State. The United States, as you will remember, at my request, agreed to arm, equip, and subsist the force, leaving the State to pay the men. An order was made to exempt the men enlisted in the corps from the conscription of the Government, regarding them, for the time being, as in the military service. The law of the State was found to be defective in many respects, and the effort to raise the corps failed. The legislature has recently made such amendments to the law as were suggested by the military authorities of the State, and I believe the corps could be raised promptly. The recent successes of our armies, the desolation of the country south of the border of the State, and the position and strength of the army commanded by Major-General Sheridan, very naturally raise the question as to the policy or necessity of calling from the industrial interests of the State 5,000 of our citizens in addition to the demands of the Government. Regarding the support of the Government as a paramount duty, I hesitate to call into military service citizens of this State for domestic protection unless there is necessity for it. In addition, to enlist and maintain such a force will, of course, be attended with heavy expense to the Government, as well as to the State. If consistent with the interests of the public service, I will be much obliged if you will give me, at the earliest practicable time, the benefit of the judgment of the military authorities of the Government. I take this opportunity to offer my congratulations on the continued victories of our Army and Navy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. G. CURTIN.

The subject is referred to you for your opinion as to whether it is necessary or expedient for the Governor of Pennsylvania to organize the force mentioned in his letter. You will please report immediately, by telegraph, your views and judgment on the subject.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.