War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0152 Chapter LXIII. MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA.,

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Manassas Junction, Va., June 30, 1861.

Honorable L. P. WALKER,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: Your letter of on 29th instant is received. By the inclosed copy of a letter to General Bonham it will be seen that I had already called his attention to the absolute necessity of stopping any information to the newspapers relative to the strength or intended operations of this army, for, as I tell him, 'secrecy in war is half the victory." Unfortunately I find that our regulations do not forbid such publications, and I think the War Department ought to provide for this deficiency as soon as practicable, as well as preventing newspaper reporters from coming within several miles of the lines of an army in the field and in the presence of an enemy. I have thus far been most industriously circulating exaggerated reports of the strength of the army under my command, and the correspondence referred to has probably destroyed the result of my labors. The Department may then judge of the disappointment I experienced when the subject was called to my attention.

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


Brigadier-General, Commanding.



Manassas Junction, June 29, 1861.

Brigadier-General BONHAM,

Commanding, Fairfax Court-House, Va.:

GENERAL: I send you, to be returned when read, two slips* of the Charleston Mercury of the 25th and 27th instant, containing valuable information as to the condition and location of our forces, one of which purports to be an extract from the letter of a member of your staff, and the other from a correspondent. The first, to say the least, is highly improper and prejudicial to the future operations of this army, and the last is positively treasonable. I beg to request that you would admonish those under your command not to write anything for public or private use relative to the condition and future operations of this army, for, if correct, the enemy will take advantage of it, and if incorrect, it might as well not be communicated, unless for a special purpose, which should be judged of by those in command alone. Moreover, the Army Regulations were most positive on that subject, and should be enforced, if still so. I have to request that you would endeavor to find out the author of the last communication referred to that he may be ordered away from the vicinity of this army forthwith. Secrecy in war is half the victory. Unless we can maintain it we might as well disband our forces at once under the present circumstances.

Yours, truly,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.



Near Wytheville, July [1], 1861.

His Excellency FRANCIS W. PICKENS:

MY DEAR SIR: This be handed to you by my friend Major Gibboney, who visits Charleston and Georgia upon matters of business


* Not found.