War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0252 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA.Chapter LXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records


Richmond, August 26, 1861.

Honorable JOHN TYLER, Congress:

SIR: Your letter of this date* in relation to the impressment of slave labor on the Peninsula has just been received, and I proceed at once to express the opinion of this Department on the subject. In times of war the necessities of the pubic service often demand departures from the ordinary rule sof administration, and the cases you suggest can be justified only by such necessities. Of this the generals incommand must, ex necessitate rei, be the sole judges in the first instance, and I should therefor eexericse this power with caution and discretion; but, however urgent and obvious the necessity, the power should therefore exercised only in suboerinationto the ultimate rights of owners, and, therefore, certificates should in all cases be given to the owners, not only for the return of thenegroes, but for reasonable hire. The Department will embody these suggestions in an official communication to the commanding generals in the Peninsula, where the impressments referred to seem to have been made.

With high regard, &c.,


Secretary of War.


WHITE SULPHUR SRINGS, August 26, 1861.

Honorable JEFF DAVIS,

President Southern Confederacy:

Permit an individual unknown to you, who is just returning from Wise's headquarters, at Sunday road, forty-six miles west of Lewisburg, to make a few suggestions "for the good of the cause." I know that I do this at the risk of sharing the fate of the poor wise man who saved the city and yet received no credit for it, and if I do I care not. And firs, I would say (knowing what I am taking about) that the Kanawha Valley is too little to hold two generals, and that, moreover, there is no cordial co-operation between the generals. I would say, moreover, that those who are to the fightingk and the people through the country have not such confidence in the qualifications of the geenrals as will cazuse them to flock to their standard and remain and fight with spriti. Second. If Johnston or Lee were sent to supersede Wise and Floyd both, there would be an entire change in the aspect of affairs. I need not say more, "a word to the wise being sufficient." Third. If Lee and Johnston, being in command west of the Alleghany, should have leave to draw on Beauregard for, say, 50,000 men, if necessary, it seems to me and others that Western Virginia could be cleared out by the time your forty days run out. I refer you to Judge Crump, Mr. McConnel, and Rev. M. D. Hoge, D. D., if you should think it worth the trouble to ask them whether or not I am apt to know what I am talking about.

Very respectfully,

John B. I. LOGAN,

Of Salem, Roanoek County, Va.



August 26, 1861.

General A. A. CHAPMAN:

SIR: In reply to your favor of the 20th instant I wrote you the letter which accompanies this and sent it by a special messenger.+ The mes-


*See VOL. IV, p. 636.


+See August 23, p. 250.