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[8] General Lee could act in defense of the exposed northwestern frontier of Virginia, all dispositions were rapidly and sagaciously made within a few weeks after the proclamation of President Lincoln calling for 75,000 volunteers to act with forces already assembled at Washington, to invade the South through the State of Virginia. These dispositions were made before May 10th, by General Lee under his commission from that State, and on that date the Confederate secretary of war directed him to assume control of the Confederate as well as the Virginia forces in the State, assigning them to duty at his discretion until further orders.

The measures thus energetically taken, were made necessary by the action of the anti-secessionists in the extreme western counties adjacent to Ohio and Pennsylvania, and also by the evident intention of the Federal authorities to seize and occupy these counties at once. The opponents of Virginia's ordinance of secession formed organizations to defeat that measure, and evidences of movements to call in the assistance of the Federal army of invasion alarmed the people. Enlistments in the volunteer army of Virginia were discouraged in many ways so forcibly as to make men afraid to leave their families. Enlistments, especially around Grafton, were therefore slowly secured, and it became necessary about the 1st of May to order at first 400 and later 600 rifles with ammunition, from Staunton, to be sent to Major Goff at Beverly, who was to turn them over to Porterfield. With these arms it was expected that some companies could be supplied for immediate service. General Lee did not think it was prudent at that time to order companies from other parts of the State to Grafton, as it might irritate, rather than conciliate, the population of that region. But Lee was very much concerned at the failure to procure volunteers in the West for the service of the State, and was induced by his anxieties on May 14, 1861, to ask Jackson, at Harper's Ferry, to send some aid to Porterfield

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Robert E. Lee (4)
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