Head Quarters, Virginia Forces

Richmond Va

Apl 24, 1861


General P. St. George Cocke


                                   Your dispatch of the 24th is at hand. I rejoice that you so fully recognize the proper policy to be pursued, and initiated it on your arrival. Continue it till compelled to change. I am endeavoring to organize the Military of the State.

            Two 8 inch Columbiads, with implements and 100 rounds of ammunition go to you today.

            Captain Walker, with four rifled 6 pds: was dispatched by the Govenor [sic], to the Potomac, before my entering on duty. Direct him to report to you, and assign him service where you deem best.

            Lieut. Simms, State Naval Forces,[2] has been ordered on duty to the Potomac, above Acquia Creek, he will be under your orders, unless the governor orders to him prevent.

            Select points of rendezvous on, or, near the Rail-Roads leading to Alexandria. Leesberg would be a suitable point for forces on that road, such points on other roads as you think convenient.

            Establish your Head Quarters as necessary. Establish camps of instruction, and have your troops instructed in the use of their different arms. Make the necessary arrangements for their support. No bacon is to be had in Virginia. Consult with merchants in Alexandria as to the feasibility of obtaining bacon from Ohio, or Kentucky, if this is not practicable, beef & mutton must be your meat ration; the Valley of Virginia will naturally suggest itself to you as the point, from which this part of the ration can be obtained.

            Let it be known that you intend to make no attack; but, invasion of our soil, will be considered as an act of war.

            My few officers of experience have as yet reported, as soon as possible some will be sent to you.

            In reference to the Regiment to be raised by Mr. Funsten, I will state, that in conformity to an Ordnance of Convention, Volunteers are accepted by companies, when organized into Regiments, the Field Officers are appointed, by the Govenor [sic] & Council. It is not believed now, that the enemy will attack you, should he do so however, and you are not able to maintain your position, fall back with your forces on your reserves, on the route to Gordonsville.

I am General

Very respectfully

                                                                        &c &c &c

R E Lee

Majr Genl Commg



            In answer to your dispatch of the of the 24th instant, unless you can remove the Light boats, to places of safety, where they will be secure, destroy them; and remove the buoys, so as to interrupt the navigation of the Potomac as effectively as you can




Source: University of Virginia Special Collections


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 January 4

[1] Philip St. George Cocke (1809-1861).

[2] Charles Carroll Simms (1824-1884).