War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0317 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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NEW YORK HOTEL, Marhc 12, 1861

His Excellency Governor JOHN LETCHER,

Richmond, Va.:

DEAR SIR: I received yesterday a letter from Major Gilham of the Virginia Military Institute, dated the 9th instant, in reference to the position of chief of ordnance of the State, in which he informs me that you had requested him "to ask me if I would resign from the service, and if so, whether that post would be acceptable to me." As he requested me to make my reply to you direct, I have the honor to state, after expressing my most sincere thanks for your very kind offer, that it is not my wish to leave the service of the United States as long as it is honorable of rme to remain in it; and therefore as long as my native State, Virginia, remains in the Union, it is my purpose to remain in the Army unless required to perform duties alike repulsive to honor and humanity.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, U. S. Army.



Annapolis, March 18, 1861

Lieutenant-General SCOTT:

SIR: I write to know if arms can be furnished for some 2,000 men if it should become necessary to put down rebellion in this State. I am strongly inclined to believe that a spirit of insubordination is increasing and that any unfortunate movement on the part of the Virginia convention now in session may cause an outbreak in Maryland. We may need a supply of arms and ball cartridge from the Government for a body of minute-men that I know can be relied upon. I shall be glad to know from you as early as convenient. It would not, perhaps in the event of an outbreak be prudent to send any of your force now in Washington, and it is important that we have arms for those we can rely upon in the State. Preparation may save bloodshed. I hope there may be no necessity, but I wish to be prepared for any emergency.

With great respect,



When militia (or volunteers) are mustered into the pay and service of the United States it is a matter of course to furnish them with arms, accouterments, and ammunition by the United States. That arms may be loaned to a State to suppress insurrection therein or for other national purpose though not expressly provided for by law, seems not unreasonable. Of the 50,000 stand advertised for sale under the act of March 3, 1825, by Secretary Floyd, under a doubtful construction about 30,000 remain (in the Washington Arsenal) unsold.

Respectfully, submitted to the Secretary of War.


MARCH 20, 1861.


WAR DEPARTMENT, March 20, 1861.


SIR: Your letter of the 18th instant, addressed to Lieutenant-General Scott, is before me, and I take pleasure in saying that, if the emergency