AUGUST 19, 1861.
His Excellency President DAVIS:
SIR: I have called, on behalf of several gentlemen from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, to hand you the accompanying memorial, and to ask you to be good enough to indicate an early day when they may receive your reply. It being after office hours I hand the memorial to the doorkeeper with this note, and will do myself the honor of calling again to-morrow.
I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,
WILLIAM T. JOYNES.
RICHMOND, August 19, 1861.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States:
Mr. PRESIDENT: The undersigned, commissioners from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, aware of the imminent danger which threatens that exposed but loyal people, and deeply convinced of the great importance, not only to their own interests and safety, but also to be interests and honor of the Confedrete Government, of defending that peninsula, contiguous as it is to several large and populous counties of Maryland, a majority of whose inhabitants are loyal to the Southern cause, and commanding the outlet of the waters of the Chesapeake, besides possessing a large and important trade and great domestic wealth, do most respectfully but urgently ask the attention of Your Excellency to the following memorial, which we are commissioned by our people to present to Your Excellency:
The people of that peninsula, isolated from their fellow-citizens, are without military organization, in great measure without arms or any means of defense against and enemy, who from the waters of the Chesapeake, commanded by the blockading force at Fort Monroe, constantly threatens their shores, and who has already twice essayed invasion by an armed fleet, each time inflicting damage and threatening the lives and property of the people, and it is greatly feared, especially since they have been excluded by General Magruder from the greater portion of the western peninsula, that that peninsula (the Eastern Shore) may be made the source of the enemy's supplies, and by a force, it may be, marching down through Eastern Maryland, and overawing those counties of that State, be at least occupied as winter quarters, if not permanently possessed by the enemy, who cannot fail to be aware of the great importance of the position; while, on the other hand, it is believed that if it could be even for a time successfully defended these populous and, to us, luyal counties of Maryland would furnish soldiers by hundreds flocking to our standard there, and would welcome our arms as the means of their own liberation.
Your petitioners further represent that exposes as they are, along the whole line of their coast, to attack at any moment, the people of these counties hesitate to volunteer unless they can have assurance of sympathy and aid from their Government, and an officer to command them whose military experience should give promise of an efficient organization to their otherwise undisciplined troops; but it is believed, without any doubt, by your petitioners, that should such and officer be assigned to their command, a brigade of at least two regiments of volunteers could me imediately organized in that peninsula alone. A partial supply of arms is already in the possession of the people, and it is hoped Governor Letcher may be enabled to increase the number.
16 R R-VOL LI, PT II