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By John Esten Cooke

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He was not ordered to take command of the troops, nor did he do so, during the whole time he was there. "Soon after his arrival he came to the decided conclusion that _that_ was not the line from which to make an offensive movement. The country, although not hostile, was not friendly; supplies could not be obtained; the enemy had possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, from which, and the Ohio River as a base, he could operate with great advantage against us, and our only chance was to drive him from the railroad, take possession, and use it ourselves.

E. Johnston, and Beauregard. Large forces had been meanwhile raised throughout the South; Virginia became the centre of all eyes, as the scene of the main struggle; and early in June occurred at Bethel, in Lower Virginia, the first prominent affair, in which General Butler, with about four thousand men, was repulsed and forced to retire. The affair at Bethel, which was of small importance, was followed by movements in Northern and Western Virginia--the battles at Rich Mountain and Carrick's Ford; Johnston's movements in the Valley; and the advance of the main Federal army on the force under Beauregard, which resulted in the first battle of Manassas.

To show you the feeling and struggle it has cost me, I send a copy of my letter to General Scott, which accompanied my letter of resignation. I have no time for more.... E. LEE. The expression used in this letter--"though I recognize no necessity for this state of things"--conveys very clearly the political sentiments of the writer. He did not regard the election of a Republican President, even by a strictly sectional vote, as sufficient ground for a dissolution of the Union. It may be added here, that such, we believe, was the opinion of a large number of Southern officers at that time.

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