MARION, SMYTH COUNTY, VA., August 14, 1861.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States:
DEAR SIR: I feel it to be my duty and my privilege, as a citizen interested alike with you in the defense of my State and of the South, to direct your attention to a point of attack and defense of peculiar interest and importance at this moment. The valleys of the Kanawha, New River, and Greenbrier are to be overrun and occupied by the enemy unless opposed and repelled by an adequatae force. You are doubtless in possession of more accurate informatin than I am in reference to the forces of the enemy now occupying the valley of the Great Kanawha and of the forces under Generals Floyd and Wise in the Greenbrier Valley sent to oppose them. But if my information be correct our forces are less than those of the enemy and require re-enforcement as promptly as possible. They have not only to check the advance of the enemy, but ought to be strong enough to drive them form Virginia and to cut them to pieces in their retreat. Wise's legion and Floyd's brigade will do all that the same number of men can do to drive back and crush out an invading foe, but they ought to have force sufficient, if practicable, to advance at once into the Kanawha Valley and drive back and overwhelm the invaders before they, too, are re-enforced. I know that other points equally demand your attention, and that all are quarded with vigilance and energy. Permit me to say that the history of the world affords no example of the assembling of such an army in so short a time as you have concentrated and are now strngthening in Virginia. When General Lee was appointed to the command of the Virginia forces our military system was in a complete state of disorder and confusion. I felt relieved by his appointment of a painful dread of the consequences of such disorganization, and that we had a military head capable of restoring order and system and of ginving efficiency to the uprisings of our people. He has not disappointed public expectation. But the great measure of strength and security to the South was the permanent union of Virginia with the Confederate States. Had she faltered, as Maryland, Kentucky, and MIssouri have done, and as even North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas had done till she seceded, fearful and unequal would have been the contest. The secession of Virginia and her unin with the confederate States, if not the turning point in the destiny of the South, at least interposed her as the battle-ground between the North and the South. The South has not been unmindful of the obligation to come to her defense. For months her troops under your command have poured into Virginia daily. Thousands have passed and are daily passing along the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. The importance of this road to the South as a military road for the transportation of men and supplies cannot be overestimated. This road may be imperiled, perhaps destroyed, if the enemy be permitted to make farther advances up New River or the Greenbrier. They are in eighty miles of New River bridge. That ought to be guarded. Its destruction would greatly impede your operatins. I look upon this road as the salvation of the South. In the possession of the enemy our communications with the west and south would be cut off. Besides, salt is an article of prime necessity to the Army and to the country. The enemy is in possession of Kanawha Salt-Works. Goose Creek Salt-Works, in Kentucky, will be of no advantage to the south. The saltworks in Smyth ad Washington are the only manufactures of salt to which we can look. If the enemy should reach this region they would occupy that property. These considerations alone would justify large