Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/65

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The "Richmond Home Guard" of 1861. 59

Main and Seventeenth streets. After the men had attained some- thing like proficiency in squad and company movement, we several times marched, in the afternoons, through the principal streets of the city, with a good band of fifes and drums.

Sometime after the battle of First Manassas, on the 2ist July, 1861, and about the time that our guns were nearly ready for us a con- siderable delay having taken place in the delivery of them to us, by reason of the urgent demand for similar equipment in the army Colonel William N. Pendleton, who had then, I think, been ap- pointed Chief of Artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia, came down from Manassas with a message to the Governor from General Joseph E. Johnston, saying that General Johnston had received secret information that General McClellan was preparing very largely to increase the artillery arm of his army for the ensuing campaign, and that it was necessary that the Confederates should meet that by a corresponding force as far as practicable. He therefore desired the Governor, first, to see if he could not send him the " Home Guard," of which he had heard, as a body ; or, secondly, failing in that, to send him the guns, horses, and all the equipment that had been provided or was being provided for the "Guard."

Colonel Pendleton, accompanied by General William H. Rich- ardson, Adjutant-General of the State, came to see me on the sub- ject ; and I promised to call my men together and submit the ques- tion to them reminding him, however, of the peculiar character of the organization, and of the distinct understanding with which the men had enlisted namely, that they were not to go into the field for general service. The "Home Guard" was accordingly called together ; the proposition of going into the field was submitted to them, and discussed at more than one meeting; if I mistake not, Colonel Pendleton was himself present at one of the meetings ; and finally it was decided by a large majority that the reasons which had originally influenced them to join this organization would prevent their volunteering to leave Richmond, or its vicinity, and go with the Army of Northern Virginia.

I had several interviews with Governor Letcher, and a corres- pondence with him on the subject, his replies to my letters being written, presumably under his direction, by Colonel S. Bassett French, one of his military aids ; and there was quite a discussion of the affair in the newspapers, particularly in the Richmond Whig>