cordial disposition to execute it according to its letter and in its spirit, I find that it will be impossible to do so in time to meet the existing emergency. The preliminaries required to be observed in ascertaining the previous contributions made by the various cities, counties, and towns, preparatory to ascertaining the contributions to be made by subsequent drafts, e time than can be (under the pressing circumstances now surrounding us) allowed without prejudice to the interests of the Confederacy and the most serious results to the integrity of this Commonwealth. We must have something more expeditious, something more definite and direct in its results, that your bill promises to effect. It will take weeks, if not months, to place the troops in the field under the requirements of your bill. At this moment troops are imperatively required at Winchester, at Alleghany, At Manassas, as Fredericksburg, on the Peninsula, and at Norfolk, and they must be at those several points with the least possible delay. I am informed by the President that they should be at their posts now, but certainly there by the 15th day of this month. If I am required to conform to the requirements of your bill they cannot be in place before the last of April, if even then. I recommend, therefore, that to meet the demands now pressing so closely upon us you at once pass a law, in the preamble to which you shall appeal to the patriotism of the troops now in the field to remain in their present organized condition, and authorize me to draft at once from the loyal portions of the Commonwealth a number sufficient to fill up the regiments to 1,000 men each. This is the only mode by which troops can be placed in the field at once, and my information leads me to the conclusion that whatever is to be done must be done quickly. The enemy is pressing us upon all sides and must be met promptly, decidedly, determinedly. We cannot spare those now in the field. They have been tried and the results show they can be relied upon. Their patriotism in this crisis of our fate will not be appealed to in vain by the General Assembly. Let them know that the freedom and liberty and independence of Virginia depends upon their remaining in service for two years more or the war, and we shall have a response that will cheer and gladden the patriot's heart and stimulate the desponding and wavering and doubtful to th their duty. The troops are willing to meet the requirements of the occasion if the Legislature will let them know what they are. The section of your late law which relates to substitutes should, in my judgment, be materially modified. It is, I think, liable to produce serious mischief, and for these reasons:
1. We are, under its operations, making up an army of hirelings of whose previous characters, associations, and views respecting this controversy we know nothing, nor is it possible to ascertain anything respecting their loyalty or fidelity.
2. Many of these substitutes represent themselves as from some one of the Confederate States, and instead of being received as substitutes for Virginians they should be at home to render their services to the States from which they profess to hail. It is unjust, therefore, to those States.
3. It is better to rely upon our own citizens to fill the ranks of our army, as our experience so far has shown them to be brave, reliable, and true.
I recommend, therefore, if the system of substitutes is to be continued that it be so modified as to require the party offering the substitutes to furnish some man from his own county. In this mode we