1862 February 26 Centreville, Va.

Centreville Feb. 26th 1862.
My Dear Father –
I arrived here
last Monday night after
having had a very rough
journey from Manassas, but
by no means injured by the
Before leaving Lynchburg
I heard it rumored that the
Army at Centreville had
been attacked by the Enemy,
and that a hard fought
battle was in progress.
I discredited the report as
the condition of the roads
precluded the possibility of
the movement of the army
of McClellan and there
were no concurrent facts
to indicate that the statement

[page 2]
had any reliable foundation.
On arriving here I was
informed that a detach-
ment of the enemy’s cavalry
had entrapped several of
our horse videttes, and had
been subsequently pursued
by our Infantry picket
Guard – a part of which
was our Company.
This scouting expedition
no doubt gave rise to the
rumor – which grew as it
was passed from mouth to
mouth, and terminated only
with the Engagement of
our entire force.
A number of our subor-
dinate officers express the
opinion that this place will
be evacuated by our army
at an early day and

[page 3]
that preparations are now
being made by our Generals
in that view. I cannot for
for a moment entertain the
belief that such a maneuver
is seriously contemplated
by those in authority as with
Manassas we must resign
the fertile, and extensive
valley of Virginia, must
give up a well fortified
and highly important
strategic point, and must
lose that prestige which
is essential in infusing
courage, and confidence
of an army. I am con-
vinced that this position
should never be abandoned
before our entire army
has been over whelmed, and
completely crushed by the enemy.

[page 4]
On arriving here I promptly
resumed my attempt to fill
up my Company to the num-
ber required by law, and
while engaged in enrolling
several names which had
just been presented, I was
greatly surprised to be infor-
med that Genl. Longstreet
has issued an order require-
ing the immediate arrest
of such officers as were
recruiting for companies
to serve out of the limits
of his division. I immed-
iately addressed a Commu-
nication to Col. Garland
Acting Brig. Genl. enquiring
into the matter and
received from him, and
from Genl. Longstreet

[page 5]
the directions which you will
find on the enclosed paper,
and which will explain
themselves. I regard Genl.
Longstreet as guilty of an
unwarrantable assumption
of authority, and myself
as greatly wronged.
My operations are for the
present suspended, and un-
less the restrictions at pres-
ent imposed are speedily
removed considerable em-
barrassment will be encoun-
tered. I am not as yet
satisfied as to the proper
step I should take, and
shall certainly do nothing
until I am convinced ^ ‘that’ my
action will be sustained
by the regulations of the
War Department.

[page 6]
On deliberation I think it
best to retain for the present
the paper referred to in order
to submit it to several of
my friends for inspection.
Capt. Lathan, Judge Advo-
cate Genl. can probably
advise me as to the proper
course to pursue. I will
merely quote the conclusion
of Genl. L’s remarks –
“The men who have re-
volunteered for Cavalry
service will be allowed
to reorganize in the new
arm of the service at
the end of their pres-
ent term, but none
others must be taken
for service away from
their Companies & regiments.”

[page 7]
Holding as I do the authority
of the secretary of war
for my proceeding I
can only regard this
interference as a tyrannical,
and high handed measure.
I have so far 50 good
men enlisted in my Com-
pany, and even if I should
be interdicted in continuing
to recruit here I may still
fill up from the Militia
and the Companies from
which I am not prevented
from recruiting.
I shall be by no means
discouraged and shall
never give up until
I have exhausted every
means through which
success might be

[page 8]
I shall write you again
soon and let you know my
status –
For the present I bid you
an affection[ate] adieu
Your Son

John Warwick Daniel,1842-1910, disabled in the Battle of the Wilderness, later a University of Virginia law graduate, U. S. Senator and famous orator, known as the “Lame Lion of Lynchburg.”

Captain George Woodville Latham, JAG to Johnston. “b. Lynchburg, Va., Dec. 16, 1833 att. UVA. Lynchburg, Va., lawyer all his life. Capt. Co. A, 11th Va. 1861-1862

[transcription and annotation by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 158

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