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[457] the various railroads leading to that point; so at Parkersburg, but in less numbers. The Ohio is fordable in the summer and fall at many points, and the whole river, from Sandy to the end of Hancock, easily crossed. We have here, and in all the counties, volunteer companies, home guards, &c. Our mountains are full of rifles, and if invaded, we shall give a good account of ourselves. The question with us is, whether we are not better off, left to ourselves, than to have a small and inadequate force sent to us, which might merely serve as an excuse for an outbreak. What we need is guns in the hands of our own companies.

Whether it might be well to have some troops in the interior, at long distance from the river — such a point as Grafton or Piedmont, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad--might be worthy of consideration.

Troops in any of the counties on the rivers would most probably cut off every supply from below, both for the army and the resident population.

I have ventured to throw out these suggestions, not formally, as to the commander-in-chief, but in the freedom of private friendship, knowing your anxiety to do your whole duty in this crisis, and your wish to obtain information from every part of the State.

I found on reaching home a member of my family in a critical condition (the main cause of my return); this still continues. I had expected the Convention to have adjourned before this time, but I could not have returned to Richmond ere this, for the reason mentioned.

I am well aware that your whole time is occupied with public affairs, but if in the midst of your official duties and burdens you can snatch a moment for a line to me, it would afford me the utmost pleasure. Is this likely to be a general war of invasion, or are the stupids at Washington to attempt a scheme of blockade and border foray, starvation, &c., by cutting off commerce?

I need not say that it will afford me the utmost pleasure to be of any service to you in this part of the State, and I hope you will not hesitate to call upon me. Your communications, when necessary, shall be held as strictly confidential. My best respects for Mrs. L., if she is with you.

With high esteem,

Your obedient servant,


Executive Department, May 10th, 1861.
My Dear Sir — Your favor of May 3d has been received. Deeming it important that the suggestions you have been kind enough to make should be made known to General Lee, who has been entrusted with the defence of the State, I have taken the liberty of submitting your letter to him.

General Lee concurs fully with you in the views you have presented,


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