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Richmond 25 Apl 1861


My dear Sir

I have been very remiss in not acknowledging your Kind notes. I beg you will excuse me & attribute it to the true Cause, the impossibility of doing so.

I feel very highly honoured by the offer of your services, & understood it I think as it was intended, an expression of your devotion to your Country & your willingness to aid her in her extremity, but hoped that all good men would not be involved in the Calamities of war. Some Can aid more in the walks of peace, & all I Know will labour where they Can be most efficient.

Nothing is organized yet. My personal Staff will necessarily be Small. It will be necessary for me to have those acquainted with the details of Service, that I may be able to attend to other things.

Other positions will be more important. The Services & ability of Genl Taliafero [sic],1 will I should think ensure him one of honour & usefulness.

Excuse my abruptness

Very truly & sincerely


Honble Jas. Lyons2




1. William Booth Taliaferro (1822-1898), a Virginian and graduate of the College of William and Mary. He studied law at Harvard, served in the Mexican War, and commanded troops at Harpers Ferry in the wake of the John Brown raid. He served with Stonewall Jackson and in the Army of Northern Virginia and later commanded forces at Charleston in 1863. He ended the war with Joseph E. Johnston’s forces in North Carolina.

2. James Lyons (1801-1882), a politician and native of Hanover County, Virginia, who served in the Confederate Congress.



Source: Digital scan of original letter, Brock Collection, Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 October 9