--No portion of the State of Virginia
to the war with more unanimity and alacrity then Southwestern Virginia
; and no district has furnished a larger quote of troops.
Its soldiers are to be found upon the Peninsula
, in the army of the Potomac, upon the Cheat Mountain
, on the Big Sewell and now away down upon the Kanawha
beyond the Ganley.
Still other regiments are recruiting there for distant service, for that brave people are still ready and willing to respond to the call of the Government
But obligations are reciprocal, and the Government
owes to the district protection by full as solemn an obligation as that binding the district to furnish it with soldiers.
The Government has drained Southwestern Virginia
of a large portion of her forces; it is bound now, on its own part, to see that district takes no detriment from having furnished it so bountifully of its men.
The Federal Government is pouring in troops by tens of thousands from the prolific Northwest into Kentucky
A formidable army is rendezvousing in the neighborhood of Lexington
for a march upon Virginia
and East Tennessee
in the direction of the Cumberland
and Pound Gaps
, in Lee
and Wise counties
. Gen. Zollicoffer
stands in the path; but the force under his command is not more than adequate to bold the Unionists of Eastern Kentucky
in check, and is unequal to the additional task of resisting a score or two of regiments from the Northwestern
hive.--The Confederate Government has yet time to reinforce Gen. Zollicoffer
; but if it delay in the work at all, he must "fall back," and the country be entered by the enemy.
The Government cannot afford to permit the great line of railroad running through the country thus threatened, to be one moment imperilled.
It cannot afford to lose the support of the brave and liberal people of Southwestern Virginia
, where as yet not a single traitor has been found.
It cannot afford to admit an army of the enemy into close proximity with East Tennessee
, where Brownlow
and Andy Johnson
have made so many Unionists
among a community the most prolific of good soldiers on the continent.
The people of East Tennessee
, under the admirable policy of General Zollicoffer
, and under the influence of the patriotic contact of Southwestern Virginia
, are rapidly giving up their Johnsonism and Brownlowism, and warming up with genuine enthusiasm for the South
It is the region, of all others in the Confederacy
, from which we may soon expect the largest accessions to our Southern armies, abounding, as it does, most profusely in men, and having furnished so far no recruits from its superabundant stock.
To permit a large army of the enemy to enter, or even to threaten East Tennessee
and Southwestern Virginia
, would be attended by accumulating and irretrievable misfortunes. --Civil trouble and division might be engendered in Tennessee
, where it has been fortunately avoided, and the magnificent country and noble people of Southwestern Virginia
be paralyzed, and our chief line of communication with the West
If these outward misfortunes are to be avoided, pains must be taken to frustrate the designs of the enemy upon Cumberland Gap
Even the loss of a week may entail consequences which it might require months to retrieve, and inflict losses upon a loyal and gallant people which could never be repaired.
We trust that all the available arms that can be commanded will at once be sent to Knoxville
, and Wytheville
, to be put into the hands of fugitive Kentuckians coming in; and that ten or twenty thousand reinforcements will be at once placed along the line of the railroads, within call of Gen. Zollicoffer