Head Qrs, Valley Mtn

8 Aug 1861


Col. A. Beckley[1]

Va Vols




            I regret to learn by yr letter of the 6h instant that you hade done nothing towards the organization of yr regt. I cannot now refer to the orders previously send you, but they were supposed at the time ample for the purpose & I had hoped you would have found no difficulty in forming a regt. From what you now state I presume there is but little prospect, as I cannot authorize the transfer of comps that have been mustd: into service & may already be comprehended into other regts. As far as I can recollect I think you were not limited to yr brigade in recruiting comps. for yr regt but were authorized to take any unassigned comps. not intended for other regt’s. You have the same authority still & shd the comps. you mention as non forming in Mercer, Logan &c be not intended for other regt’s you are at liberty to muster them into service as part of the 35th Reg’t & to add to them such others as you may recruit or as Genl Wise may be able to assign to you out of any unassigned comps. in his command. At a time like this when the services of all true men are required in the defence of the State, I trust you will find no difficulty in collecting Vols. & that you will spare no pains in organizing yr reg’t & speedily bringing it into the field.

I am very respy &c

(sgd) R. E. Lee

Genl Comdg


Official Copy

W. H. Taylor, A.A.G.




HdQrs Valley Mtn

8 Aug 1861

R. E. Lee Genl Comdg

To Col. A. Beckley

Va. Vols

Regrets that he has been unable to form his regt and gives more explicit instructions concerning the manner of its organization.




Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 8, M2009.261, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 October 14






[1] Alfred Beckley (1802-1888) was a brigadier general of Virginia militia during the Civil War. He attended West Point, graduating 9th in his class of 35 cadets. During the Civil War, he attempted to raise and lead troops in western Virginia, but he proved unsuccessful. He was arrested by Union authorities and spent time in prison at Camp Chase. He was released in June of 1862. He was the founder of Beckley, West Virginia, which was named after his father.