WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, April 2, 1862.
Brigadier General JOSEPH R. ANDERSON,
Goldsborough, N. C.:
SIR: I beg to tender you my thanks for the kind wishes expressed in your letter of the 28th ultimo, and to say that the work of closing up the channel of the James River is now in progress under the charge of the Engineer Bureau.
GEO. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF LEWISBURG,
Lewisburg, April 2, 1862.
His Excellency the GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA:
GOVERNOR: I feel it my duty to inform you of certain facts arising from the organization of the irregular force known as "rangers," authorized by an act of the Legislature of Virginia. The companies of this organization which have come under my observation are simply organized bands of robbers and plunderers, stealing the thunder of and basing their claims to organization upon the meritorious and daring acts of a few brave men. The parties, or many of them, composing the organization are notorious thieves and murderers, more ready to plunder friends than foes. With such material as a basis it would be surprising to find organization. They do so as they please - go where they please. The effect of this organization upon the volunteering has been very injurious. Many, especially the worthless, like the privilege of fighting, as they say, on their own responsibility, which, intepreted, means roaming over the country, taking what they want, and doing nothing. The choice arms of the State have been furnished these people. This has induced many to believe that they are a favored organization. A guerrilla force without being closely watched becomes an organized and licensed band of robbers. Properly managed in small parties they are very efficient. I have contemplated very seriously disarming the two companies now here (Downs' and Sprigg's), simply as an act of protection to the good citizens of this county. A guerrilla chief should be able to enforce obedience and command the respect of his associates. These men (Downs' and Spriggs) do neither. This organization has become a loophole through which hundreds are escaping draft and in fact all service. I respectfully invite your attention to the matter, convinced as I am that but one side of the picture has been presented to you. This subject would be a matter of entire indifference to me were it not for the extent which it militates against the good of our State and country.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
APRIL 9, 1862.
Respectfully referred to General Lee for his consideration and advice. I inclose a copy of the bill authorizing this range force.*
*See Mardch 27, 1862, Series IV.