Friday, May 20, 2011

May 16, 1861 (Thursday): Enter Jubal Early

Photo of the boyhood home of Jubal Early in Franklin Co., Va.

                                                                                    LYNCHBURG, Va., May 16, 1861
Col. R. S. Garnett, Adjutant-General, Virginia Forces:
     COLONEL: I arrived here this morning, and have assumed command of the Virginia volunteers mustered into the service of the State at this place.  It was not possible for me to get here sooner, as I was compelled to make some preparation to enable me to go into the service.  I find that Lieutenant-Colonel Langhorne has mustered into the service two companies of cavalry, one from Lynchburg and the other from Before; also, seven companies of infantry, two from Lynchburg, two from Bedford, two from Botetourt, and one from Floyd.  Two companies reached here this evening from Roanoke, and will be mustered into the service to-morrow.
…I find matters here in quite a confused state, owing to the inexperience of the officers of all the departments.  Lieutenant-Colonel Langhorne has made no apportionment of troops among the counties to rendezvous here, and in fact, has made no call, specifying the number to be received at this place.  He has merely given notice, in the papers, that he would muster into service volunteer companies from the counties designated.  This has produced a good deal of uncertainty and confusion.  I do not wish this to be considered as a complaint against Colonel Langhorne.  It results from his entire want of experience in such matters.  I am satisfied he has been endeavoring to discharge his duty faithfully, but I would very respectfully suggest that it is rather out of the usual course to entrust to a mustering officer, of inferior rank, so large a discretion in regard to calling out volunteers.
….You will pardon the length of this letter, but I thought it better to embrace all the matters about which I want instructions, and about which it is necessary to communicate with you, in one letter than several.
      Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                                    J. A. EARLY
                                    Colonel, Volunteers, Commanding at Lynchburg, Va.

So enters Jubal Early onto the war’s stage.  Early, of Lynchburg, was a lawyer and state legislator who had voted against secession then followed his state to war.  Competent, but opinionated, Early was never hesitant to judge his fellow officers as we see here in his thinly veiled attack on the unfortunate Colonel Langhorne.  In any case, Langhorne would make a quick exit from the annuals of the war.

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