Friday, May 13, 2011

1861 May 13 Richmond

Hd Qrs:

Col. P. St George Cocke
Commd Virga Forces
Hd qrs: Culpepper Ct House Va


I have just recd your letter of the 12 Inst. &
hasten to give Such explanation as I can of the Circumstan-
ces to which it refers. Your Change of rank has
resulted from the action of the Convention. Before the
termination of its Session an ordinance was passed
requiring all appointments in the military Service by
the Governor to be Submitted to the Convention for
Confirmation. The Convention also determined, as I
have understood, to reduce the number of the higher
grades in the Service,which resulted in the renomination
by the Govr by & with the advice of the Council, of Several
officers for appointments to grades one degree lower than
those to which they had been originally appointed.
Genl. [?], Genl Johnstons, Genl Ruggles, yours & others
were of this number.

Another ordinance of the Convention gave to officers of
the Provisional Army rank above those of the Volunteer
forces of the same grade & subjected them to duty with
the volunteers until required for service with the Pro. Army
Col: Ruggles & Col: Terrett having been appointed
in the Pro: A. it was incumbent on me to reorganize

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their rank. It therefore became necessary to change
your Command which I did with regret. Of the
Circumstances attending it. I Supposed you were Cognizant,
as the action of the Convention I think occurred before your
last visit to this City.

When Col: Jackson was sent to Harpers Ferry it
was to muster into service the Companies there assembled,
with a view of organizing a force as rapidly as possible
to hold that point. Hence he was not directed to report
in person to you on his route, as that would have occasion
-ed delay, though it was well understood that Harpers Ferry
was embraced within your Command---- at
the present time ^'as well as' & for the reasons given in S. Orders No 39
it was deemed advisable to give to the Commander
at Harpers Ferry Command of that station without
a reference to any other question.

I hope you will perceive from the foregoing explana
-tion, which has been necessarily brief, that the change in
your Command was dictated by necessity & not by choice.
In assigning the officers within your former district to their
present posts I was guided entirely by the Convenience
of the service, & a desire to hasten the organization of the
troops. It is temporary & designed to meet the exigencies
of the occasion.

As to yourself I desired to have the benefit of your
knowledge of the troops & officers Called from the extensive
Country assigned to you, in their organization & equipment,
& hoped the service would be as agreeable to you, as I believe

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it will be beneficial to the public. Recognizing as
fully as I do your merit, patriotism & devotion to the
State, I do not Consider that either rank or position are
necessary to bestow upon you honour, but I believe that you
will Confer honour on the position.

In the present Crisis of affairs I know that your own feelings,
better than any words of mine, will point out the best
Course for you to pursue to advance the Cause in which
you are engaged & to promote the interests of the
Service which you have So much at heart: & will leave
to the voice of your fellow Citizens to assign to you the
position you deserve

I am with high respect & esteem
your obt Servt
R. E. Lee
Maj Genl

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