LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, President. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln") as President, TO HENRY W. HALLECK, General in Chief, Washington, D.C., 24 February 1863. 1 pages, 8vo, "Executive Mansion" stationery, small tear in blank portion, evidence of mounting, otherwise fine.
PREPARING THE DEFENSE AGAINST "CONFEDERATE GUERILLAISM"
Following "Stonewall" Jackson's highly successful strategic diversion in the Shenandoah Valley, alarmed West Virginia representatives had visited Lincoln to voice their concern that the region was extremely vulnerable to this type of highly mobile warfare, and to urge stronger Federal garrisons in the region. This letter informs Halleck that "This morning the West-Virginia delegation call and say that the enemy contemplates invading & over-running them, in the early spring: and that, for this object, among other things they are building a plank-road from Staunton to Beverly. To meet this our friends are anxious, first, that the 7th Virginia Infantry, and the 1st. Virginia Cavalry both now under Gen. Hooker, may be sent back to West-Virginia. These regiments are greatly reduced, ours having not more than one hundered and sixteen men. Secondly, they desire that if, possible, a larger portion of their force in West-Virginia, should be mounted, in order to meet the increasing guerallaism with which they are annoyed & threatened. Can these things, or some of them, be done?"
This was perhaps one of the few times that Lincoln would ask Halleck's opinion concerning Hooker's movements. The relationship between Halleck and Hooker was very acrimonious: "Hooker detested Halleck, and, as with all of his opinions, made no secret of it. Halleck had a like opinion of Hooker...Halleck was not informed of what movements Hooker was planning or of what had occurred in those that he executed." (T.H. Williams, Lincoln and His Generals, p. 211). Published in Collected Works, ed. R.P. Basler, 6:115. Hooker's reply is apprently not extant. The two regiments mentioned in Lincoln's letter were apparently not transferred to West Virginia and "guerillaism" remained a problem in the region until the end of the war.