Today in History:

111 Series I Volume LI-II Serial 108 - Supplements Part II


LYNCHBURG, May 26, 1861

Colonel R. S. GARNETT,

Adjutant-General Virginia Forces:

COLONEL: On Friday the muskets sent by Colonel Dimmock to me were received except the twenty boxes, and I issued orders forthwith for arming the regiment under the command of Colonel Preston in which I had substited two companies from Beford, commanded by Capts. William L. Wingfield and J. McG. Kent, for the artillery companies of Captains Jordan and Hupp, in order that I might send themto Colonel Cocke's command. On yesterday morning I was informed, while waiting at the place of deposit of the arms to issue them, that several of the companies had mutinied and declared that they would not take muskets, as they were rifle companies. I had to proceed to the camp and take very summary measures to quell the disaffection, and assume a power which was justified by the emergency of the case. I had the regiment drawn up, and stated to it that the enemy had landed at Alexandria and migth be marching into the interior; that it was to be sent with these arms, which were the best the State had, toward the enemy, and that men who would refuse to take them under such circumstances could not be relied upon, and I would discharge forthwith all who should refuse any longer to take the arms I offered them. I then called upon all who would refuse to step forward, and there were only eight who did, so, and these men I ordered to be discharged without pay or transportation home, with the declaration that their names and the causes of their discharge should be published in the papers. The balance of the regiment then cheerully took the muskets, with the exception of a company from Campbell, commanded by Captain Whitlow, which had old State rifles, without bayonets. I am aware that I exercised a power with which I was not properly vested, but it was the only way to deal with the only way to deal with the disaffected men, as the appeal of their own officers and Colonel Preston had proved unavailing. Having made the threat to discharge recusants, I had to carry it out, relying upon the comma sanction my course. The men discharged were three privates from the Craig company, commanded by Captain Wilson; one private from a Campbell company commanded by Captain Clement; two privates from a Bedford company, commanded by Captain Bowyer; and two privates from another Bedford company, commanded by Captain Wingfield, though the disaffection, was principally in two companies from Botetourt and one from Craig. The men discharged were hooted out of camp by the rest of the regiment; and the course I pursued has haad a happy effect, and will contiue to do so on the men hereafter to be armed. I sent nine companies this morning, armed with the altered percussion muskets, to Manassas Junction, under command of Colonel ----. They numbered 640 besides the commissioned officers. Some of the companies went off without muster-roll, as Lieutenant-Colonel Langhorne has been very slow in having them made out. Captain Whitlow's company I did not send, because I had no ammunition for their rifles and did not think they would be of much service. The company numbers only fifty-three, including commissioned officers, and this morning the captain showed me a telegraphic dispatch from Governor Letcher directing him to go home to recruit and take his copmany with him. I suppose this must have been in reply to some representation from the captain himself. I permitted him to go with with his company, hoping they would not return, as I did not like the temper shown by the captain or his company in refusing to exchange their useless rifles for an efficient