Correspondence Between Union Brigadier General Henry H. Lockwood and Major General John A. Dix

November 14-22 1861 Expedition through Accomack and Northampton Counties Virginia


No 1. Instructions to Brigadier General Henry H. Lockwood, U.S. Army

[First letter]

Baltimore, November 11, 1861

GENERAL: You will proceed with the forces under your command into the Counties of Accomac and Northampton, Virginia, and carry out the assurances given in the proclamation to be issued by me on the 13th instant. One of the objects in view, though not stated in the proclamation is to bring these counties back to their allegiance to the United States and reunite them to the Union on the footing of West Virginia. The first step in the accomplishment of this object is to disarm and disperse the military corps encamped within them. If these corps are in the service of the Confederates, they should be made prisoners and sent to this city. A conciliatory course should be pursued in regard to those who are not under arms and have not been in the pay of the Confederate Government. It will require great discretion and prudence in bringing about the desired result; but if the people of these counties but if the people of these counties can be induced to declare their independence of the Confederates, the strongest assurance may be given to them of an efficient protection by the Government.

It will be advised to have a free and frank conference with the leaders of the Union men as soon as you think the time has come for disclosing the wishes of the Government. In advancing into the interior great care will be necessary to guard against surprises. It is understood that the is to carry on a guerilla warfare against you and the character of country favors it. you will, if possible, send me a brief note of your progress each day. As soon as you reach Drummondtown your supplies will be sent to Pungoteague Inlet, and it will not be necessary to keep up your line of communication for supplies with the rear. You will nevertheless consider it advisable, should you be able to disperse with any part of your forsed, to leave detachments at particular points. The best disciplined troops should be kept with you, as you will have no hostile forsed in your rear. The imperfectly trained can be left in detachments of not less than a company where they are needed.

The battery at Pungoteague Inlet must be carried before transports can enter the harbour, and this should be done as soon as possible after you reach Drummondtown. In this, as in all matters, I rely on your prudence and discretion, to which much of the detail of the movements are left.

You will take with the expedition Captain Tyler., who is now with you as assistant quartermaster. I have requested that funds should be placed in his hands to purchase the forage, fuel, and animals to replace any which you may loss.

The utter most vigilance is required to preserve discipline among your troops and to prevent any outrage upon personal property. If any man violates your orders in this respect, you will put him in irons and send him to these headquarters. No distinction should be made between the citizens of those counties in regard to the past. All who submit peaceably to the authority of the Government are to be regarded as loyal. If any persist in acts of hostility, it is for your to decide what measures shall be taken in regard to their persons or their property, and to this prerogative no subordinates can be permitted to interfere. The notion has been far too prevalent that the persons and property of the cessionists may be unceremoniously dealt with by commanders of regiments or corps and the sooner it is corrected the better.

I am, general, very respectively, your obedient servant,

John A. Dix

Major-General, Commanding

_____.  War of the Rebellion: A compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Volume 5, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1881, Reprinted in 1985: 424. 425.

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