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War officers of the First regiment Virginia volunteer infantry,

With some notice of the Advisory Council of Governor John Letcher in 1861.

I am indebted to my friend Captain Louis Zimmer, of the Ordnance Department, C. S. A., now of New York city, but a former comrade in F company, volunteers of Richmond, for the following memo. Some efficient and providential service by Captain Zimmer, in securing from New York at personal hazard, percussion caps, which were essential for use in the first battle of Manassas, is given under the caption ‘A Secret Service Episode,’Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXVIII, pp. 14-18. Zimmer was entrusted by the Advisory Council of War, which in 1861 was composed of Governor John Letcher, Lieutenant-Governor Robert L. Montague (father of our present Executive); Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, State Senator Thomas S. Haymond (later of West Virginia), Colonel (later Major-General) Francis H. Smith, Superintendent Virginia Military Institute, Captain Robert B. Pegram, C. S. Navy, and perhaps others. The private secretary of Governor Letcher, Colonel S. Bassett French, acted as Secretary of the Board. Of the proceedings of this ‘Board’ of War, so able in its constitutional personnel, and which would be so informatory as to early appointments, only those of the early months of 1861 are preserved [365] in our State Library—a lamentable loss. Further, of the ‘Executive Journal,’ which might assist in the want of the ‘proceedings’ referred to, there is preserved in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth only the record to the month of December, 1860, inclusive, and then—a hiatus—taken away by the Federal authorities in April, 1865, to the incumbency of Governor Francis H. Peirpont (or Pierpoint, as he then subscribed himself), commencing in 1864.

The list of the dates of the commissions of the officers of the First Regiment Virginia Volunteers will be held of interest by our community. Nearly all of them received deserved promotion for gallantry in the field.


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