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Defence of the cities and towns of the State

--The Governor's Recommendations.

The following communication from the Governor was sent to the General Assembly yesterday.


Executive Department,

Feb. 11th, 1862.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Delegates:
A crisis is upon us. The results of recent reverses to our arms at Mill Spring, Fort Henry, and Roanoke Island, appeal in the strongest terms to our patriotism, and demand an exhibition of all our energies, an uncompromising spirit, and stern and determined resolution.

The exigencies of the times are not duly appreciated by many of our people; the dangers which environ us are too lightly estimated

We must see and feel their imminence before we can be aroused to that action which is necessary to save us from alarming ills, and to avert evils which threaten our existence, our peace, and our organization as a Government. The results referred to should be sufficient to arouse the people of the Confederacy to stimulate and call into action all our energies, physical and intellectual.

It cannot but be apparent to every mind that the object of our enemies is to cut off our Southern connections by railroad and otherwise, and to defeat the transportation of people from one point to another with certainly and celerity, as our necessities may demand. This result accomplished, and one great step will have been taken towards their and our subjugation.

It becomes us, therefore, to perfect our organization, and bring into active use all our strength, to defeat the designs of a wily and scrupulous foe, whose march has been marked by brutality, bloodshed, and plunder. Itery citizen of Richmond ought to feel and that the possession of this city is an of the most earnest and anxious decision of the part of our enemies. Its mechanist and manufacturing interests are doing so much to uphold the Southern Confederacy, that is loss to us would be well nigh irreparable.

The various propositions which have been made by Lincoln and his allies to parcel out the territory of this Commonwealth, makes the possession and subjugation of Virginia not less desirable. The casual observer cannot have waited to see these things, and they should rouse up every latent feeling of patriotism that slumbers within him, and being it into prompt and decisive action.

The defence of Richmond, Norfolk, Fredericksburg, and other parts of the State, is of the utmost importance, and to nature this defence we must at once take stops to secure organization, and bring an efficient corps into the field. I therefore recommend:

First.--That the male population of the cities and towns be divided into those subject to ordinary and extraordinary draft — the first class to embrace those between eighteen and forty five--the second class to embrace those between sixteen and eighteen, and those between forty-five and sixty years of age.

Second.--To authorize the Governor, when informed by the President of the Confederate States of the urgency for so doing, to call out beth classes for home defence — to make rules and regulations for their organization into companies and regiments, in conformity with the laws of Virginia, and require all places of business to be closed at 2 o'clock P. M., and the whole force drafted as aforesaid, to turn out for discipline and instruction.

Third.--The ordinary draft to be ordered it necessary to defend any lines of approach to the town or city to which they belong — the extraordinary draft not to be required to serve beyond a distance of five miles from the limits of the town or city to which they belong.

Fourth.--To include in such drafts all persons sojourning in the cities and towns for a period longer than ten days.

Fifth.--None to be exempt for any other reason than service in the State or the Confederate States.

It this is considered hard service, let the people of the cities and towns recollect that the people of New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, and Savannah, have adopted this policy, and have steadily practiced it for months past. The people of Richmond, and other cities and towns in Virginia, are just as much exposed as those of the cities I have named, and should be willing to sacrifice as much for the common cause, in the way of ease and comfort.

If the Legislature will pass a law, the patriotism of the people of Virginia will respond to it, and show that they are not less ready to make all necessary sacrifices for the common cause than those of any other State in the Confederacy.

Respectfully,
John Letcher.

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