Doc. 53.-proclamation by Gov. Letcher. By the Governor of Virginia.
Having reason to believe that the volunteers from this State in the army are not provided with the necessary supply of shirts, drawers, shoes, stockings, and gloves, I have deemed it proper to appeal to the good people of the Commonwealth to furnish such of these articles as they may be able to spare for the use of our troops. The heavier articles of clothing will, no doubt, be provided by the confederate government. Few of us, while seated around our own fires in winter, well supplied with comfortable clothing, can realize the situation of those who are exposed to the inclemency of the weather, without sufficient covering, without change of apparel, or with tattered and unclean under-clothing. The inability in an army to procure necessary washing, makes it imperative that they should be furnished with a larger supply of clothing. The loss of clothing, which is inevitable to those who are making long and hurried marches, renders it proper that they should be supplied more frequently than the army regulations allow. The articles of shoes and stockings are most needed, because the wear and tear upon them from frequent and rough usage is incessant. Shoes especially have become so exorbitantly high that the pay of the soldier is not sufficient to enable him to procure them. From such causes, and from inattention on the part of subordinate officers, the men are too frequently unprovided with these indispensable requisites. Who can see the soldiers of Virginia marching with naked feet, in weather such as we have lately experienced, without feeling his cheek flushing with sensations of shame and mortification? Who can contemplate the prospect for the soldiers in the future, as winter advances, while the slaves on our farms and in our streets are comfortably clad, without emotions calculated to open his purse and his heart to remedy the evil? The man who, amid rain and snow, is compelled, in mud up to his knees, to put his shoulder to a cannon-wheel when stalled, and drag it out by his bodily exertion, will properly enjoy the comfort of a clean and dry pair of stockings when he returns to his tent. The man who has been standing on guard on a stormy night, until thoroughly drenched, can comprehend the pleasure of a dry and clean shirt, and a comfortable pair of flannel or cotton drawers. The man who, in bitter cold weather, with fingers nearly frosted, has to clench a frozen musket or rifle-barrel, will appreciate the kindness of one who will furnish him with a pair of woollen gloves. He will feel that he is not forgotten by his country, and his heart will overflow as he silently vows to peril his life in defence of her honor and for her glory. I feel confident it will be enough for me to state the necessity that exists to insure a supply of the article named. Let the people in each county and corporation in the State set to work immediately to procure whatever may be necessary for the soldiers from their immediate neighborhoods. Let them appoint a trusted agent to collect the articles that may be contributed, to carry them in person to the encampments, and to see to their proper distribution. These contributions will cheer and comfort thousands, and call down the blessings of heaven upon yourselves and families. The unusually early appearance of winter induces me to make the appeal now, and admonishes me to urge upon you to expedite your offerings.
Given under my hand at Richmond, and under the seal of the Commonwealth, this thirteenth day of November, 1862, and in the eighty-seventh year of the Commonwealth.