Headquarters, Valley Mountain, VA., August 12, 1861


General Henry A. Wise,

Wise’s Legion, White Sulphur Springs, Va.:


General: I have just received your letter of the 10th and 11th instant, and I am glad that you are enabled to re-enforce General Floyd so promptly. Your reasons for our troops not advancing to Gauley at present are conclusive, and your plan of stopping the advance of the enemy on the eastern verge of the Wilderness you describe is concurred in until ready to open and penetrate the Kanwaha Valley, whence you may draw your supplies. The line of defense you propose, embracing points of strength, is the best.

I have written to General Cooper in reference to arms and forges for your command and forges for General Floyd. I recommend that you forward to Colonel Deas, assistant adjutant-general, headquarters Richmond, a State requisition for such supplies as you may be deficient in. I will direct him to see what can be furnished. As already advised, there are no arms at my disposal, except the State flint-lock muskets: of these you have probably sufficient. I recommend that you also make requisition for ammunition for your howitzer upon Major Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, C. S. Army. There being no 10-pounders in the service, he has not, probably, any ammunition for it. The information of the enemy being re-enforced in front of this position is repeated. Also that he is fortifying at the bridge over the North Branch of the Potomac at New Creek Depot, and occupies Romney. I think it probable that he is spreading his troops over a line of operations from the Kanawha to the Potomac, with a view of influencing the local elections of the Peirpoint dynasty. I hope we shall be able to cut him up in detail. For this purpose our troops must be kept ready for concentration.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee,

General, Commanding


Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 5, pp. 781-782


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 August 12