Headquarters Virginia Forces,
Richmond, Va., May 1, 1861
Col. T. J. Jackson, Commanding Harper’s Ferry, Va.:
Colonel: Under authority of the governor of the State, you are directed to call out volunteer companies from the counties in the valley adjacent to Harper’s Ferry, viz, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire, Hardy, Frederick, and Clarke, including the troops you may muster in at Harper’s Ferry, not counting five regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and two batteries of light artillery, of four pieces each. The average number of enlisted men in each company will be eighty-two, and the troops will be directed to rendezvous at Harper’s Ferry. You will select, as far as possible, uniformed companies with arms, organize them into regiments under the senior captains, until proper field officers can be appointed. You will report the number of companies accepted in the service of the State under this authority, their description, arms, &c. Five hundred Louisiana troops, said to be en route for this place, will be directed to report to you, and you will make provision accordingly.
You are desired to urge the transfer of all the machinery, materials, &c., from Harper’s Ferry, as fast as possible, and have it prepared in Winchester for removal to Strasburg, whence it will be ordered to a place of safety. The machinery ordered to this place must be forwarded with dispatch, as has already been directed. The remainder will await at Strasburg further orders. All the machinery of the rifle factory, and everything of value therein, will be also removed as rapidly as your means will permit. If the troops can be advantageously used in the removal of the machinery, they will be so employed. It is thought probable that some attack may be made upon your position from Pennsylvania, and you will keep yourself as well informed as possible of any movements against you. Should it become necessary to the defense of your position, you will destroy the bridge across the Potomac. You are particularly directed to keep your plans and operations secret, and endeavor to prevent their being published in the papers of the country.
I am, sir, &c.,
R. E. Lee
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 2, pp. 793-794
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 May 1