James B. Terrill photoJames B. Terrill Civil War Letter
Manuscript #00161

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About this Letter
James Barbour Terrill (b. 1838, d. 1864), from Warm Springs, Virginia, graduated from VMI in 1858. During the Civil War he saw extensive service and rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. He was killed in action at Bethesda Church, Virginia in 1864. Additional biographical details are located here. In this letter to Virginia's Governor John Letcher, dated April 5, 1861, Terrill offers his services to the state and reviews his previous military experience.

Full Text Transcription 

Richmond, April 5th 1861
To His Excellency, The Hon John Letcher, Governor of Virginia

Having just been relieved from military duty at Harper's Ferry in [virtue] of the act of the Virginia Convention cancelling all commissions previously held by Field Officers in the state, I deem it my duty to make a formal tender of my services in a military capacity to the Governor of the state.

I will only say that I am a graduate of the Virginia Military, was Brigade Inspector of the 13th Brigade of Va Militia & held the commission of Major of the 5th regiment of Virginia Cavalry & had been discharging the duties of a cavalry officer at Harper's Ferry from the time the place was [invested] by the Va forces up to the time I was relieved from duty. With the greatest respect I will state that I prefer the volunteer service as it is a service with which I have been intimately connected since the reorganization of the volunteer system in the state & because I believe I could render at present more efficient service as a volunteer officer.

With the greatest respect, Your obedient servant, J. Barbour Terrill, Late major 5th Regt. Va Cavalry

I take pleasure in saying that Major Terrill bears the reputation in the Valley of being a competent & efficient officer- & that I believe he has the qualifications, as he shows the disposition, to do the state service.
John B. Baldwin
May 5th 1861