On this day in 1861, Robert E. Lee was working to shore up Confederate defenses in northwestern Virginia. Instead of following up on the victory at Manassas, the Confederacy was trying to stop the Union advance towards the Shenandoah Valley.
Richmond, Va., July 23, 1861.
Brigadier General H. R. JACKSON, Army of the Northwest, Monterey, Va.:
GENERAL: I have received your two letters of the 20th, reporting the state of militia operations in the northwest. You have done all under the circumstances that was proper, and all will yet be well.
Our brave troops must bear up against misfortune. Reverses must happen, but they ought only to stimulate us to greater efforts. I regret my inability to repair to your assistance, but events occurring in our front prevented. I am sure the glorious victory there achieved will cheer the hearts of your troops.
At the first report of the retreat from Beverly, anticipating your wants, I ordered ammunition, tents, blankets, cooking utensils, and shoes to be sent to you. But, unfortunately, they were sent, by mistake, to General T. J. Jackson, at Winchester. A duplicate supply of the articles have been forwarded to Staunton. General Loring, an officer of experience, has been assigned to the command of the Army of the Northwest, and he is accompanied by officers who have served years on the frontier.
Four Virginia regiments, one Arkansas, three Tennessee, and two Georgia regiments, and two field batteries are ordered to join the Northwestern Army. This force, with what ought to be organized from the hardy mountaineers, will be sufficient to drive back the invaders. There is a necessity for repelling them, and it must be done. Every assistant will be afforded in this quarter.
R. E. LEE,