Tennessee regiments are suffering very much with measles and diarrhoea, and I have caused a large hospital to be prepared in Fredericksburg for them, and have appointed Surgeon McClenahan, of the Navy, medical director. I respectfully ask for the order the approval of the general commanding.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. H. HOLMES.
RICHMOND, June 19, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War:
SIR: According to your request, I submit in writing the suggestions I made verbally to you yesterday. I need not urge upon you the supreme importance of recovering Northwestern Virginia from the enemy. Nor can it be necessary to invoke your sympathy for the many loyal people there who are now subject to the brutal oppression of traitors and mobs sustained by a Northern army. That country is too generally regarded both by our friends and our enemies as wholly disloyal. It is not so. But a defenseless population, separated by distance and mountains from the main strength of the South, exposed to invasion on almost every side, actually overrun by an army of 12,000 or 15,000 men, and left without efficient support, could not offer resistance to the greant States of Ohio and Pennsylvania backed by the Northwestern States and the Federal Government. They have yielded to invasion and they submit to the schemes of a minority, who derive support from the invaders. I am well satisfied that a decided majority of the citizens of the Northwest are loyal, but if they are left long to maintain single handed, or without adequate assistance, the unequal contest with the great States around them, they may, in mere despair, go over to the enemy, and that country may become irreconcilably disaffected to the South or abandoned by the loyal men who prefer exile to submission. With most of the people there now the real embarrassment arises from a general belief that the South cannot sustain itself against the North, at least in that country. Recent circumstances have tended to confirm that belief. An inadequate force sent there now will confirm it absolutely. It is of the utmost importance that the force sent, and to be sent at once, shall signally demonstrate the strength of the South, and shall be able to drive the enemy back. This is the very crisis in the fate of that great, populous, and valuable section of Virginia. With the people there on our side the country will bith the people against us and the enemy in possession it will be as easily held by them. The habitual sentiments of a majority of the people are still with us, but being without arms or organization, and almost without hope of support, they cannot rescue themselves, and they cannot render aid to our cause until they are rescued. The enemy's forces there must be beaten, if not expelled, before any large accession to our military strength can be furnished by the people of the country. The enemy once beaten, they will supply a large number of men for future defense. It must be obvious that if the force now on its way thither shall be obliged to act merely on the defensive or in petty skirmishes, awaiting accessions from the people there, the enemy, already in possession, with its prestige of success, having command of the railroads and being near to Ohio and Pennsylvania can strengthen himself much more rapidly than we can expedt our force to be strengthened by volunteers of the country. It