previous next

Gov. Letcher's Message.

Executive Department, December 2, 1861.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Delegates:--Since the adjournment of the General Assembly on the 4th day of April last. Virginia has withdrawn from the Federal Union, and has resumed her sovereignty as an independent State. The reasons which impelled her to the adoption of this course are numerous, and are ample to justify her action. It is sufficient to state that the government which our forefathers established was a government of-freedom and equality — that it has been subverted, and its aims and objects defeated. Free will and the consent of the governed were the great principles lying at its foundation. They never entertained the idea that one section of the country was to be held by subjugation under the dominion of the other. Their own history had shown that they had freed themselves from unwise and unjust legislation, from coercion and subjugation, by their revolutionary struggle — the noblest and most glorious in its results that has adorned the annals of history. The founded a Government for the protection of all, which commended itself to popular approval, and around which the affections of the people were closely entwined, giving to it strength, power, and influence. In the pure days of its existence it enjoyed the confidence of the people, and commanded the respect of the nations of the earth. So long as it gave protection, all were interested in maintaining and perpetuating its existence, but when it ceased to afford protection, and the attempt was made to coerce and subjugate the States, the Government of our forefathers was overthrown.

We are in no sense responsible for the present condition of public affair. The Northern masses, maddened by passion and inflamed by prejudice, have pushed their aggressions upon us, until every consideration of duty and patriotism requires us to separate from them.--We desired to separate in peace. We wanted no war, but yet we had made up our minds to vindicate our conduct on the battle-field, if needs be, and trust to that God who directs the destinies of men and nations, to guide us into the pathway to success and independence. So far, he has watched over us; guarded and protected us in our righteous resistance to tyranny; has presided in the councils of our brave Generals; has stimulated our officers and men to deeds of noble daring, and has crowned our efforts with the wreath of victory.

It would be an idle consumption of time to present all the reasons which influenced our action, in this communication. They are familiar to the public mind, and under their influence the people of Virginia have pronounced their judgment at the polls, and by a majority unparalleled, have declared for separation. The events that have transpired since the 17th day of April. fully attest the sincerity of their convictions. I am content to leave their vindication with posterity, assured that their action will be fully justified.

The purpose of the Federal President to subjugate us and coerce us to remain in the Union, the great aims and objects of which have failed, has involved us in a war of resistance to defeat his unholy designs. We have met his movements with a firmness, resolution, and courage, that become freemen, in the maintenance of their honor, their rights, and their institutions. We have defeated his best troops, and driven them in confusion and dismay, from his own selected battle-fields. Bethel and Haynesville, Bull Run and Manassas Rich Mountain and Gauley, Harper's Ferry and Leesburg, all attest the spirit, the heroism, the patriotism and courage of the volunteers of the Southern Confederacy. They have proved themselves equal to any emergency, and have demonstrated that they are worthy sons of illustrious ancestors, who struck the first blow for freedom in the Western World.

It is not with us to determine whether this war shall be of long or short duration. We have decided, however, that it cannot terminate until our enemies shall recognize fully and unconditionally the independence of the Southern Confederacy. Whatever of men or money is needed to work out this result will be cheerfully furnished. There can be, and there will be no compromise. We can never again live in harmony and peace under the same Government. We can never entertain friendly feelings for a people who have ruthlessly shed Southern blood upon Southern soil in so execrable a war. They have shown themselves our worst enemies, and such we bold them to be. The separation that has taken place has been signalized in blood, and it ought to be, and I trust will be, a permanent separation. Reconstruction is not desirable, and, even if it were, it is now an impossibility.

It is our duty, therefore, to devote all our energies to a vigorous prosecution of the war. Everything must be done that vigilance and fidelity require, and nothing left undone that patriotism and prudence suggest us necessary for our protection against actual and contemplated aggressions and encroachments upon our rights. No hesitating or doubtful policy will answer when armies are in the field.--Nor will it do to act alone on the defence. The Susquehannah is a better fighting line for us than the Potomac, and the sooner the war is pushed forward to that line, the better for Virginia and the Southern Confederacy. To that line it must go if we would save Maryland. Let our actions show to her people that we feel for their condition, and that we intend to aid them in effecting their deliverance from the tyranny that now oppresses them, and thousands will welcome us to their State, and flock to the standard of the Southern Confederacy, with a resolution to plant that flag firmly upon her soil, or die in the attempt. This war will not end until we show the Northern people the difference between invading and being invaded.

In this connection I must not omit to notice the noble spirit and promptitude exhibited by the gallant sons of that State, in coming forward immediately after our ordinance of Secession was passed, and making tenders of service to aid in the struggle, which was then seen to be unavoidable. A more gallant set of men never graced a battle field, and soldiers more true, more courageous, and more faithful, never struck blows for freedom and independence. When their State was subjugated, they left their homes, families, and friends, came to Virginia, entered her service, and have exhibited a devotion and fidelity to the cause worthy of all admiration.

Very shortly after the secession of Virginia, in the full belief that Governor Hicks, of Maryland, would be disposed to unite with me in the adoption of some line of policy that would be calculated to give mutual protection to our respective States against the encroachments of the Lincoln Government, I sent Judge William W. Crump, of this city, one of my aids de-camp, a gentleman of fine intelligence and great prudence, to confer with him, and ascertain what would be his course of action in the then existing condition of public affairs. On calling upon Gov. Hicks, Judge Crump very soon became satisfied that the Governor intended to go with the North, and would use his influence, personal and official, to prevent Maryland from connecting herself with her Southern sisters. The conference, therefore, soon terminated. Judge Crump's report is here with transmitted.

For this struggle, so suddenly commenced, Virginia had for some time been making such preparations as her means enabled her to make; and although she was not so well prepared as was desirable, still she was better prepared than most of her Southern sisters.-- better perhaps than any one of them. For some time anterior to the secession she had been engaged in the purchase of arms of different kinds, ammunition, and other necessary articles, and in mounting artillery, in anticipation of the event which subsequently occurred. The reports from the Ordnance Department of the State, which have been laid before the Convention from time to time, will show what she had done in the way of preparation, and what number of artillery for the field, and what number of small arms, ammunition, and other articles necessary for fitting out and maintaining an army, have been issued. To Col. Charles Dimmock, Chief of the Ordnance Department, is the State largely indebted for what has been done, before and since the war commenced. He is not only an accomplished and well educated military officer, but he is a systematic business man, remarkable for energy and perseverance. His services to the State have been and are now invaluable in the position he occupies.

A large portion of the ammunition which has been used in the war, was captured at Norfolk, and the heavy guns supplied to our Southern sister States for coast, river and land defence, were captured with the Navy. Yard at the same time. The capture of the Navy-Yard and of Harper's Ferry was accomplished without the loss of a life, or a casualty of any description. All the field artillery which we have issued belonged exclusively to the State of Virginia, and much the larger part of is had been in her possession for half a century. The small arms were also her own exclusive property, save seven thousand and m Kindly furnished by the late Governor Ellis, of North Carolina, who felt and manifested the deepen interest in all that concerned the people of this Commonwealth. Death has removed him from the theatre of action, but his memory will be cherished, his manly virtues honored, and his name held in grateful remembrance by the executive and people of Virginia.

On the 28th day of February, 1846, the Legislature directed the Superintendent of the Armory to sell, under the direction of the Executive, all such arms and accoutrements then in the armory as were not worth repairing.--This order was construed by Governor Floyd to include the iron six-pounders then at the armory, and by an order date February 22, 1849, the Superintendent was directed to sell them at not less than twenty-five dollars each. Fortunately for us, there were no bidders at that price, and the guns remained in the possession of the State, and now each one of those pieces is in the field, and they have proven to be equal to any guns of like calibre now in service. How small a circumstance controls the greatest events! What embarrassments would have attended our operations in this important struggle, if these pieces had not been in our possession and ready for transportation to the field.

It is to be regretted that Fortress Monroe is not in our possession; that it was not as easily captured as the Navy-Yard and Harper's Ferry. As far back as the 8th of January last; I consulted with a gentleman whose position enabled him to know the strength of that Fortress, and whose experience in military matters enabled him to form an opinion as to the number of men that would be required to capture it. He represented it to be one of the strongest fortifications in the world, and expressed his doubts whether it could be taken, unless assailed by water as well as by land, and simultaneously. He stated emphatically and distinctly, that with the force then in the fortress, it would be useless to attempt its capture without a large force thoroughly equipped and well appointed. At no time previous to the secession of Virginia had we a military organization sufficient to justify an attempt to take it; and events since that occurrence demonstrate very clearly that with our military organization since, and now existing, it has not been deemed prudent to make the attempt.

Prior to the secession of the State, indeed from the commencement of my gubernatorial term, I used all proper means within my reach, aided and supported by the military commission, to prepare the State for defence. In the first communication which I had the honor to present to the General Assembly, I used this language:

‘"Whether the Union shall survive or perish, it is, nevertheless, your duty to place the State in such a condition that she will be prepared at all times, and upon the shortest notice, to protect her honor, defend her rights, and maintain her institutions against all assaults of her enemies With this view, I recommend a careful revision of the militia laws; and in this connection I suggest that munitions of war be procured and provision made for the organization of an efficient military staff. It would be well also to specify in the law the number of aids to which the Governor is entitled, and designate their rank. I cordially approve the bill herewith sent for the organization of a brigade of minute men, prepared by a gentleman remarkable for his intelligence, military knowledge and experience. And finally I commend the Virginia Military Institute to your favorable consideration, and urge that liberal appropriations be made for enlarging the buildings, and extending the sphere of its usefulness. "’

In answer to this recommendation, the General Assembly appropriated one hundred and eighty thousand dollars, in bonds, to be expended in the purchase of arms, equipments, and munitions of war. If we could then have purchased all the arms we desired to obtain, our State would have been in a better condition to repel the assaults of the Federal Executive. At the time we made the purchase of five thousand muskets from the Federal Government, we desired to purchase ten thousand additional, but the authorities declined to sell them to us, although five times the number were then in the arsenal at Washington.

The appropriations for the purchase of arms were made, as before stated, in bonds, all of which, under the law of the State, had to be negotiated at par, before a dollar could be realized for purchases. This was a source of serious embarrassment, and nothing but the untiring zeal and indomitable energy of the military commission enabled us to overcome the difficulties, and to make many purchases which proved of immense value in the struggle in which we have been and are now engaged. The thirteen Parrott ritard cannon, and the five thousand muskets and the powder then purchased, furnish examples in point. It is a memorable fact in connexion with the purchase of the powder, that the military commission and the Executive were charged with wasting the public money in the purchase of more powder than the State was likely to consume in many years.

The record which Virginia presents in her contributions to this war, is a proud one.--Her sons can look upon it with satisfaction and pleasure. It demonstrates her performance of duty. She has been true to herself, to her ancient fame, and to her sisters of the Southern Confederacy With full knowledge when she passed her ordinance of Secession, that her own soil was to be the battle field between the contending parties, that she in taking her position placed herself between the enemy and her Southern sisters, and would receive the blows that might otherwise fall upon them, she yet boldly occupied the position, stepped forward and received the shock. How gallantly her sons have maintained that position, history will attest. Her patriotism, her devotion to the common cause, will be fully recognized and admitted by all.

It is impossible at this time to state the precise number of volunteers and militia that Virginia now has in the field, owing to the fact that the mustering officers at Norfolk, Lynchburg, Abingdon, Staunton, Winchester, Harper's Ferry, the Potomac division, and other places, have not made their returns to the Inspector General's office in this city, From the lights before me, I estimate the number at not less than seventy thousand. We have in service fifty-nine regiments of infantry and a considerable number of battalions and companies in this arm of the service that have not been organized into regiments. We have eight organized regiments of cavalry, and a number of companies attached to different commands, which, if consolidated, would make probably three regiments more. We have issued three hundred and fifteen pieces of artillery, nearly all of which are in service in the field. One artillery regiment only has been organized, and that was organized at the instance of General Magruder. When the war commenced, we were compelled to put our artillery companies in the field as fast as they could be raised and armed. The necessity which required the adoption of this course at the origin of this war, has continued to exist, and I have felt it to be a duty to transfer the companies to Confederate control as soon as they were mustered into service. It is not probable, therefore, that additional artillery regiments will be organized at this time.

By agreement with the Confederate authorities, the State of Virginia paid off her volunteers in the field to the 30th day of June. The Paymaster General's report shows, that he has paid seventy eight companies of cavalry, fifty-two companies of artillery, four hundred and two companies of infantry, one company of cadets, and seven companies of militia. There remain to be paid six companies of Infantry one of cavalry. We had therefore in service, on the 30th day of June last. five hundred and forty-seven companies of all arms of the service, comprising forty-one thousand eight hundred and eighty-five men, then in the field. The Paymaster General states in his report: ‘"The force which I report as having been in the field and paid to the 30th of June. has been greatly increased by recruiting the companies, as reported to me by the paymasters In many cases they had increased twenty five per cent.--in some, fifty per cent."’ Since the date mentioned, we have added largely to our volunteer force, and for months past the militia in the Valley, some portions of the west, in the Piedmont region and in side-water, have rendered more or less service, under calls from the officers in command in those sections of the State.

The alacrity and promptitude with which our volunteers and militia have responded to the call of the Executive. entitles them to the thanks of the country. They have exhibited a noble spirit of patriotism, and the courage, coolness and heroism which they have displayed on the field of battle, under the most trying circumstances, are worthy of all praise. No men ever exhibited higher traits of gallantry, or more heartfelt and whole-souled devotion to a righteous cause, than they have done.

The expenditures of the State for war purposes, since 17th day of April last. amount to more than six millions of dollars. Her contributions of men and money, for the common cause, have been cheerfully furnished, and her past course gives assurance of her determination to spare no effort to insure success. She feels and knowns, and therefore acts upon the principle that nothing short of the full and free recognition of the independence of the Southern Confederacy, can give assurance of protection to persons and property, and happiness and prosperity to her people, Every consideration, therefore, that should influence a people, prompts as to repudiate all compromising to Friant all we sists our safety for the present and for the future.

Some legislation is necessary for filling the places of our volunteer forces now in the field when their present term of service shall expire. It is not improbable that many of them will decline to re-enlist after the expiration of their terms of service, at least for a time;) and this contingency should by all means be adequately provided for. I commend this important subject to your early consideration, with the full conviction that your wisdom will suggest such legislation as will meet the case.

I avail myself of this, the first opportunity that has presented itself, to return my cordial thanks, individual and official, to His Excellency F. W. Pickens, Governor of the State of South Carolina, for his promptitude in sending troops to our aid immediately after the passage of the Ordinance of Secession — for the deep interest he has uniformly exhibited in our behalf, and for his generous and ready response to every request I have preferred. He was the first Executive who proffered us aid and support, and hence the propriety of this reference to him.

My convictions of individual and official duty, and every dictate of patriotism have induced me to contribute in every proper mode to aid the cause in which all we hold dear is involved. All the means within my control have been cheerfully and promptly employed. As a citizen of Virginia, and as the Executive of the State, I felt it to be incumbent upon me to co-operate cordially and heartily with the Confederate authorities in the adoption and prosecution of all measures and plans which promised to advance the interests of the Southern Confederacy, and to establish its independence upon a firm and reliable basis.

In addition to arming our own troops, I have issued arms to such unarmed regiments battalions, and companies, as came from other States to participate in this struggle.--I have furnished to our friends in Maryland three thousand muskets; to Tennessee, five batteries of six-pounder field pieces, comprising four guns each, and have armed a number of her infantry regiments; to Missouri, two six-pounder rifled cannon and five hundred muskets; to Kentucky thirty six hundred muskets; and have furnished arms to regiments, battalions and companies from Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina. Very recently I have furnished one thousand muskets to South Carolina, and some heavy guns and five hundred muskets to North Carolina The Confederate and State authorities have worked together for the advancement of a cause common to both and the success of which can only be secured by united counsels and concerted action.

I refer with mortification and regret to the unpatriotic spirit which has been exhibited by a portion of our people in Northwestern Virginia, and to the disloyal and revolutionary acts to which they have resorted to dismember this Common wealth, and to organize a new State within its limits. Their conduct is without justification or excuse. The professions and pledges of the leading public men of that section, often repeated before, at the time, and subsequent to the passage of the Ordinance of Secession. induced the belief that they would abide by the expressed will of a majority, as it might be exhibited at the polis. That will, fairly expressed, was overwhelmingly in favor of the ordinance; and every obligation of patriotism, every consideration of duty and of lovely, the ties of kindred and association, should have induced them to abide by and acquiesce in this popular expression of sentiment. While claiming the common name of Virginians, they have sought to place their brethren, under the subjection of a tyrant and despot, who, in utter disregard of the Constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof, has invaded the territory of their native State, by a hired soldiery, composed of the reckless and the abandoned, the dissolute and depraved, gathered from the purlieus of the cities and villages of the North, and the floating scum of western population. The personnel of their army is a living libel on mankind — Abandoning their own brethren, they have given aid and support to these mercenaries, and have justified them in shedding the blood of Virginians upon their own soil. They have rejoiced with them in their small victories, and they have mourned when a few thousands of Southern volunteers have driven their tens of thousands from the field Could anything be more unnatural, disgraceful and treasonable?

A day of retribution will assuredly come, and with it its certain attendants of shame and sorrow. The enemies of our rights and our peace will be driven from that fertile and valuable portion of Virginia back to their homes in the North and the West; and those who have counseled and abetted them will be made to feel that Virginia, has power to execute her laws, and visit punishment upon the guilty violators. Many of the purest, most intelligent and loyal of the citizens of that section of Virginia have been driven from their homes, their personal property destroyed, and their landed estates laid waste and confiscated. They enjoy, as they should the sympathy of their loyal brethren; and I trust the time draws night when the measures which have been set on foot by the President will relieve the country from the tread of the invader, and restore them to their homes. The military movements for the Valley and Northwest are in charge of an officer (a native of Northwestern Virginia) of tried courage and experience, whose skill, ability and merit have sustained the severest tests in this and in the Mexican war. Let the true, the faithful, and the loyal rally to his standard, and second his efforts for their deliverance.

The Northwestern portion of Virginia must not be abandoned and surrendered to the traitor residents and mercenary soldiery who now occupy it. We owe it to those noble and generous men- who have stood by us throughout this great struggle, who have sacrificed their all in their devotion to Virginia and the South, who are now refugees, scattered here and there throughout the loyal portions of the Commonwealth, far removed from all the endearments and comforts of home and family, and friends. We must restore these men to their homes; we must repossess this country, and bring it again under subjection to the laws of Virginia. The Common wealth must not be dismembered. When this war ends, she must be what she was when it was inaugurated. The Ohio river was the western boundary then, and it must continue to be her boundary.

Early in the month of May last I directed my aid-de camp, Judge William W. Crump, to accompany an expedition to the Northwest, and to take with him arms, to be placed in the hands of loyal citizens of that country, whom, from assurances I had received, I expected to be at Grafton to receive them. His report, herewith transmitted, will explain the objects of his mission, and the instructions given to him.

In the retreat from Philippi, five hundred, or more muskets and a considerable quantity of ammunition fell into the hands of the enemy.

On the 14th day of June, 1861, I issued a proclamation to the people of Northwestern Virginia, appealing to them to stand by the State, and unite with us in repelling the invaders of their soil. A copy of this proclamation is herewith communicated.

This war is to end at some time, and when it does end, the question of boundary between the two Governments is to be adjusted. We must therefore recover every square foot of Southern territory before we can think even of negotiating upon the subject. We cannot afford to surrender any part of the slaveholding territory; and any policy which looks to such a result should be indignantly repudiated.

The enemy have recently taken possession of the counties of Accomac and Northampton with a large force, estimated at from six to eight thousand. The isolated location of these counties, and the impossibility of supporting the local volunteers and militia by additional troops, while the enemy held possession of Maryland and the bay, made them an easy capture. These counties must be recovered, the citizens restored to their habitations, and relieved from the subjugation to which they have been reduced. The possession of Maryland is indispensable to us in the present condition of affairs on the Eastern Shore and in the Northwest.

Kentucky, Virginia's oldest daughter, paralyzed by fratricidal strife, torn by intestine commotion, is now passing through an ordeal far more drying than has fallen to the lot of any other State. She will, however. pass through it safely. The courage and heroism, the resolution and patriotism, the will, the energy, and unfaltering spirit of her young men will bring her safely through this trial, and place her by the side of the old mother Commonwealth in the Southern Confederacy. We have assisted her as far as it was possible; and we now look forward with confidence to the day when the flags of Virginia, Kentucky, and the Confederate Government, floating together over her soil, will assure her people that she is redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled.

We have earnestly and hopefully watched the progress of the revolution in Missouri, the gem of the Northwest. Our strongest feelings have been enlisted in her behalf, because we find Virginians. here and there, dotted over her territory. Virginia feels a mother's affection for all her children, wherever located, and she rejoices with them in their hours of joy, and sympathizes with them in their moments of sadness. The brilliant successes which have crowned her efforts so far, the glorious victories which have been won by her soldiers on fields where the odds were against them, assure us that her liberty and independence will be secured.

I introduce, in this connection, an extract from a speech made by Mr. Lincoln in the House of Representatives the 12th day of January, 1848,peculiarly striking, and exactly suited to the existing condition of the country.

‘"Any people, any where, being inclined, and having the power, have a right to rise up and shake off the existing Government, and form a new one that suits them better.--This is a most valuable, a most sacred right-- a right watch we hope and believe is to like rate the world. Mar. in the right to ing Government may choose to exercise it.--Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit. More than this a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority intermingle with, or near about them, who may oppose their moments, -- Such minority was precisely the case of the Tories of our own revolution. It is a quality of revolutions not to go by oldLines. or old laxs; but to break up both, and make new once. "

It would be unreasonable to expect success in every engagement, in a war conducted upon such principles as the enemy have adopted. We have officers in charge of our troops, of tried skill and courage, and of enlarged experience in all military matters. They enjoy the confidence of their men and of the country, and they have discharged their duties with fidelity, zeal, and judgment. We have at the head of the Confederate Government a thoroughly educated military man, who has served with distinction and success in the field, who is devoting all his energies and tasking his intellect to the uttermost in devising plans and originating measures calculated and intended to advance the cause, and to bring the war to a speedy and successful termination. With all these great advantages, we must yet expect to meet with some reverses. We must be prepared for them, and if they come, we must not permit ourselves to be discouraged. We must ‘"bate not a jot of heart or hope, but bear up and steer right onward."’ If driven from the field to-day, redoubled energies, renewed spirit and courage, will enable us to regain it to-morrow. Heed not the croakers whose fears and diseased imaginations prompt them always to look upon the dark side of every picture — We have men of this class amongst us who grumble and complain when they can find a listener; but the number of such is exceedingly limited. Ninety-nine men out of every hundred are confident of success, and are working with a will, a resolution, and a determine disposers to achieve Southern independence. They intend to establish a Government of liberty and law, equality and justice. No men ever struggled in a nobler cause, and we must press forward, therefore, with strong heart and stern resolution, reposing an abiding confidence in the guardianship and protection of that Providence which has hitherto watched over us, and given to our arms such signal victories.

The ladies of Virginia and the other States of the Confederacy have manifested the deepest solicitude for the success of the cause, and the arrogant interest in all who were engaged in the service. They have been unremitting in their efforts to promote the comfort of the soldiers and to administer to their wants. They have exhibited a singleness of purpose, a self sacrificing disposition, a zeal, and a thoughtfulness in efforts to provide for those in the field, and to relieve the sick and the wounded. Those delicate attentions which woman alone knows how to bestow are exhibited in our hospitals, and wherever else objects deserving their attention are to be found. Will have they performed their duties in this struggle, and thousands of grateful tongues will chant their praises and celebrate their virtues.

When our independence shall be established and recognized, as it will be, what will be its effect upon the material prosperity of Virginia? With the best port in the world, our commercial advantages must be great. We may fairly and reasonably conclude that an extensive valuable foreign trade will at once spring up, which will give vitality to all the various interests in our State. It will stimulate manufactures, mining, and agriculture, greatly augment production, and thus furnish profitable and constant employment to our population. The hoarded capital releasing itself from the restraints now imposed upon it, would find profitable investments in lands mineral, and agriculture, in the pursuits of mining and manufacturing, and in all the various branches of mechanic at industry. No State in the Confederacy abounds in greater natural resources and advantages, and in everything she requires to establish her prosperity in their development. Direct trade with foreign nations will give to us immense advantages that we have not heretofore enjoyed, and which, under the legislation of the United States Government, it was not possible for us, to obtain. Fishing bounds, bounties to steam lines, the protective policy, and indeed all the laws regulating commercial intercourse in sea going vessels, foreign and coastwise, had a direct tendency to the concentration of commercial power and influence in the North--and such has been the result. The establishment of our independence, and its natural consequence, direct trade, will increase our population, enhance our prosperity, and add immensely to our wealth and influence as a State.

I transmit herewith a communication received from Hon. C. G. Memminger. Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederate States, dated September 17, 1861, enclosing an Act of Congress entitled ‘"An Act to audit the accounts of the respective States against the Confederacy. "’ I commend this subject to your attention; and as it is a subject of very great importance, and early action is necessary, I trust it will be duly considered, and such legislation as may be required will be adopted.

I recommend that the Executive of the State be authorized to have complete and accurate lists of all our forces in the field made out and deposited in the State Department, and that an appropriation be made to effect this object. It is due to our volunteer and other forces, that the State should preserve a record of their names, and the length of their service, for future reference, and as part of the history of the Commonwealth The present is an important period, and everything that is calculated to illustrate the history of the State or Confederate Government, should be carefully preserved for reference and use. The present times will have a historian, and the value of all history depends upon its accuracy. Care and attention now will provide and preserve the materials, and place them in reach of the historian of our age and generation. I hope it will be your pleasure to provide means to accomplish this valuable and desirable object.

The aggregate balance in the treasury on the first day of October, 1860, was$251,305,66
Received from thethe 1st day of October, 1860, to September 30th, 1861, from all sources10,187,653,84.
The disbursements from the 1st day of October, 1860, to September 30th, 1861, on all accounts, amount to the sum of19,209,391,11
Balance on hand Oct. 1st, 1861,$232,505,39
To the credit of the Commonwealth 138,214,84.
To the credit of the Literary fund,17,793,87,
To the credit of the Board of Public works,8,220.43,
To the credit of the Sinking fund,65,330.25,

The report of the Sinking Fund Board herewith transmitted, and the report of the Second Auditor, will furnish much valuable, interesting, and important information. I commend them to your consideration.

The report of the First Auditor is a document of very great ability. It embodies a vast amount of valuable instruction and important information on subjects of interest to every citizen of the State. The statical information which it presents is extremely valuable, and is presented in the best shape for ready reference. The industry, skill, and judgment which the tables exhibit in their preparation, and the well known reputation of the Auditor for accuracy, will cause this report to be highly appreciated by intelligent men. I commend the report most cordially to your careful examination.

The report of the attentive and indefatigable Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds, and the recommendations and suggestions which it makes are worthy of adoption, especially those relating to the renovation and repair of the Capitol building.

A portion of the buildings at the Penitentiary, including the axe factory and the weaving establishment, were destroyed by fine on the 1st day of July last. So Soon as I heard the buildings were on fire. I repaired to the Penitentiary, and remained there until the fire was subdued. On the next day I directed the Superintendent to institute an investigation to ascertain, if possible, the origin of the fire — The fire was beyond all question, the work of an incendiary; but although the investigation has been prosecuted, we have not been able to ascertain the guilty party or parties. The buildings have been reconstructed, and nearly all the machinery in the axe factory has been replaced, and in a few days work in that branch of operations will be resumed. The machinery in the weaving department, I regret to say, we have not been able to supply, and I fear some considerable time must intervene before this branch of manufacture, can be resumed. We have found it impossible to procure carding and picking machines and looms, as we have no manufacturer of cards picks, and looms, in the Southern Confederacy that I am aware of The loss to the State is between ten and twelve thousand dollars, from the best information I have been able to obtain. This loss has seriously embarrassed the operations of the penitentiary, and, as the manufacture of axes was more profitable than any other branch of industry carried on at the establishment, has greatly reduced our receipts for the last half year.

In my last message, I made several recommendations in connexion with this institution, which I regarded as important, but none of which. I regret to day, were acted upon. Those recommendations I now renew, and I screenly hope this present General Assembly will d

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William W. Crump (4)
Virginians (3)
Hicks (2)
F. W. Pickens (1)
Parrott (1)
C. G. Memminger (1)
Magruder (1)
Abe Lincoln (1)
John Letcher (1)
Floyd (1)
John W. Ellis (1)
Charles Dimmock (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: