War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0027 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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NORFOLK, April 23, 1861.

His Excellency JOHN LETCHER,

Governor of Virginia:

I herewith send you a dispatch, commucated to me as confidential by Samues Watts (aide-de-camp), W. W. Lamb (mayor), C. W. Newton, James Cornick, and Tazewell Taylor, esqrs.:

NORFORLK, April 23, 1861.

The Baltic arrived off Old Point to-day with troops from Boston, as reported to us, and proceeded to Washington. The Cumberland is lying off Old Point, and is the only vessels of war in Hampton Roads.




TUESDAY, April 23, 1861.*

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The Governor nominated to the convention Robert E. Lee to be commander of the military and naval forces of this Commonwealth, with the rank of major-general. The nomination was unanimously confirmed, and that commission was issued accordingly.

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The Governor issued and order to W. W. Townes that all vessels loaded with tobacco, cotton, etc., belonging to Northern men, should not be permitted to leave James River.

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TUESDAY, April 23, 1861.#

Present, the whole council.

The council respectfully advise that the Governor dispatch a telegrm to General Walter Gwynn to send a flag to Fort Monroe to ascertain whether it be true that officers of the Army citizens of this State are kept in irons or otherwise retrained against their will at that fort, and report the result to Governor Letcher immediately.

Ordered, That the secretary enter upon record the communication this day addressed by the to the convention. This communicaton is in these words:

COUNCIL OFFICE, April 23, 1861.


The Council of Three, appointed by a resolution of the convention adopted on the 20th of April, 1861, to aid, consel, and advise the Governor in the exercise of his executive authority in the present emergency, beg leave to represent to the convention that great uncertainty arises of the terms of the resolution as to the relation which it was contemplated to establilh between the Governor and the council. The expression, "to aid the Governor," is ambignous. It could not have been contemplated that the council should enter upon the performance of executive functions withouth the concurrence of the Governor, for that would have been to create a dual executive each acting independently. The resolution does make it necessary that the Governor shall act with the advice of the council or direct him, before he exercises any discretionary power, to require the advice of the council, leaving it disretionary with the Governor to conform his action thereto or not, as to him may seem expedient. If it was contemplated that the council should counsel and advise the Governorrs as the council might deem important, such advice, if offered without the request of the Governor, might appear obstrusive, and if given without adequate knowledge of the facts might to disastrous consequences.


* From the Executive Journal of the State of Virginia.


# From proceedings of the Advisory Council of the State of Virginia.