War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0240 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Under the sense of what is becoming and proper it has replied to your letter without the slightest expression of complaint of the tone you have thought proper to assume.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Secretary of War.


His Excellency JOHN LETCHER,

Governor of Virginia:

SIR: The operatives in the Tredegar Works at Richmond were organized, commissioned, and armed by you as a battalion for home service on the 3d day of June, 1861, and had an effective force of at least 300 men, rank and file.

Up to the period when the first of the battles around Richmond was fought, in June last, this battalion had been regularly mustered, drilled, and promptly turned out for service when required, but upon ordering a muster for inspection on this day I am informed by the commandant, Major Archer, that the men claim exemption from all military duty under some act of Congress or order of the War Department; that in consequence the drills have been discontinued, and that now scarcely the force of a single company could be mustered.

I am also informed by Major Archer that there are in the various foundries and workshops, including the Government works in the city of Richmond, probably 3,000 able-bodied young men, or men in the prime of life, who might be organized upon the same principles as the Tredegar Battalion, and would constitute a very effective force for the defense of the city. In every ward of the city there is a military hall or some building which might be conveniently used for night drills by companies. These night drills under competent officers would, I know, afford the needful military instruction, and with battalion or regimental musters, according to the force, on Saturday afternoons, would be the necessary tax upon the time of the men, and not withdraw any of them from the customary working hours, since, as to that, Saturday, as I am informed, is universally regarded among them as a broken or half day.

It is my duty to report the condition of the Tredegar Battalion to you, but I have extended the report so as to include the whole material of the city capable of armed service for local purposes, confident as I am that the Confederate Government, at very little trouble or expense, may organize into companies, battalions, and regiments, for the protection or defense of the metropolis, an effective force of two or three regiments.

The subject is respectfully submitted for your consideration.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[First indorsement.]

DECEMBER 19, 1862.

This communication to me from Adjutant-General Richardson is respectfully referred to Honorable Secretary of War, as it contains some valuable suggestions that may be of service in arranging for city defense.