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Headquarters Virginia Forces,

Richmond, Va., May 4, 1861


Col. George A. Porterfield, Harper’s Ferry, Va.:

Colonel: You are directed to repair to Grafton, Taylor County, Virginia, and select a position for the troops called into the service of the State, for the protection and defense of that part of the country. It is desired to hold both branches of the railroad to the Ohio River, to prevent its being used to the injury of the State. You must, therefore, choose your position with this view, that you may readily re-enforce troops on either branch. Maj. A. Loring, at Wheeling, has been directed, with the volunteer force under his command, to give protection to the terminus of the main road at the Ohio River, with whom you will communicate and co-operate. You will also place a force on the Parkersburg Branch, at such point as you may select, under a suitable officer, with necessary orders for his guidance. Maj. F. M. Boykin, Jr., of the Virginia volunteers, who will act under your orders, has been previously authorized to call out volunteers from that section of country, and you are authorized, under the proclamation of the governor, of the 3d instant, to extend the call to the counties of Wood, Wirt, Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, Ritchie, Pleasant, and Doddridge, to rendezvous at Parkersburg, and to the counties of Braxton, Lewis, Harrison, Monongalia, Taylor, Barbour, Upshur, Tucker, Marion, Randolph, and Preston, to rendezvous at Grafton.

It is not known what number of companies will offer their services, but it is supposed that a regiment, composed of infantry, riflemen, and artillery, may be obtained for the Parkersburg Branch; a similar force for the main road, near Maudsville, and three regiments for the reserve, near Grafton; and you are authorized to receive into the service of the State that amount of force. You will report the number of companies mustered into the service, their condition, arms, &c.

Two hundred muskets have been sent to Colonel Jackson, commanding at Harper’s Ferry, to the order of Major Boykin, which will be distributed under your orders, and you will cause proper receipts to be taken from the captains of companies for the security of the State. More arms, &c., will be forwarded to you on your requisition. It is not intended to interfere with the peaceful use of the road, and you are desired to obtain the co-operation of its officers and agents in the accomplishment of the purpose of the State, and, on your part, to aid them in its management as much as possible.

Second Lieuts. J. G. Gittings and W. E. Kimble, of the Provisional Army of Virginia, have been ordered to report to you for duty.

Very respectfully, &c.,

R E Lee

Major-General, Commanding




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 2, pp. 802-803

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 November 27