The join committee have considred it within the scope of the duties devolved on them to ascertain, as far as may be properly communicated to them, what are the means at the command of the Confederate Government applicable to the purpose and the measures contemplated, with a view to repelling any further invasion or encroachment of the public enemy upon the western portion of the State; the extent to which our citizens in that quarter may expect protection in thie persons and property through the military operations of the Confederate Government, and more particularly whether, and to what extent, and in what manner, it may be desirable to have the direct and efficient co-operation of Virginia in effecting these important purposes; and further, to ascertain in like manner, so far as may be properly communicated, what are the plans and purposes of the Confederate Government in respect to the expulsion of the enemy from that portion of our territory now occupied by Federal troops; and upon this point also what co-operation of the State of Virginia may be desirable.
We deem it altogether unecessary to remind you of the important interests, both to the State of Virginia and to Confederacy in carrying on the great war in which we are engaged, connected with the security of the slt, iron, lead, and other valuable mineral resources abounding in Southwestern Virginia, notr to mention the agricultural supplies which the entire western section of the State affords; the valuable watering places of Western Virgnia furnishing covenient hospitals for the army; the Military Institute and State arsenal at Lexington, all of which, from the information before the committee, are at present in great dnagere. Nor need we call attention to the vetal necssity of protecting the Virginia and Tennessee and the Virginia Central Railroads from interruption by the enemy, nor to the serious diminution of both men and pcuniary means resulting from the occupation of so large a portion of our territory by the enemy-an evil increased of course by each successive encroachment. We are well assured these subjects have received and will continue to recive the watchful care and attention which their importance demands; yet as to these and the great question of restoring the integrity of Virginia by the expulsion of the enemy from her entire borders, our people naturally feel an especial and very deep interest, and out particular object in alluding to them here is to convey to the Coinfederate authorities our assurance of the readiness and strong desire of the Commonwealth of Virginia to call inot requisition her utmost resources boht of men and money in relieving from the grasp of the enemy the large portion of our people now writhing under his detestable despotism. We deem it proper to be explicit in saying that the prevailing sentiment of the General Assembly and of the people is that Virginia to the full extent of her resources, and, if need be, acting directly and upon her own responsibility, should at once engage vigorously in the work of driving the enemy from her western border if it shall be found that the means at the command of the Confederate Government applicable to this purpose are inadquate to the accomplishment of this important purpose at a reasonably early day. But of course whatever may be undertaken in this regard should be, and will be, so far as depends upon the authorities of Virginia, in harmony and close co-operation with the plans and operations of the Confederate Government; and it is mainly with this view that we desire information as to these contemplated plans and purposes.
We are fully aware of the question of delicacy involved in making these inquiries, but we desire to know oinly so much on the subject as will enable Virginia in one alternative to lend her efficient co-operation,