May 8, 1862
Active Service in the Mountains of Virginia.—By authority of the War Department, I am raising and organizing a Regiment of Partisan Rangers, to be under my command as Colonel, for immediate and very active service in the Military Department, (all West of the Blue Ridge,) now under the command of Major Gen. T. J. Jackson. The corps will consist of ten companies of a mixed character, (mounted and foot,) adapted to the peculiar region of country in which it is to operate. The officers, except myself, will all be elected as in other arms of the service—the Staff to be appointed. The enlistment will be for the war, and any one may join me who is not now regularly mustered into the military service of the country. The pay rations, &c., are the same as in the army, with the additional advantage that the Government will pay the full value of all arms and munitions captured from the enemy.
Judging from the applications I have already received, this corps will be speedily filled up; but, as I desire that it shall consist of "picked men," I call attention to it in this public manner. The fact that a number of officers who were defeated in the late reorganization of the army have already expressed a desire to join me in this wild, adventurous service, in which individual prowess is not swallowed up in the mere mechanism of great masses of men, induces me to express the hope that many others will do likewise. So far as my personal knowledge goes, a large majority of the old volunteer officers who were defeated in the late elections were amongst the very best in our army — brave and true men and patriots, whose strict fidelity in the discharge of duty, and refusal to electioneer, caused their defeat. I know that most of these brave men with unabated real and a sublime devotion to the country, intend again to enter service, without regard to official position. Such are the men I should be proud to be associated with in a system of warfare where individual courage, prudence, and energy are the great elements of success. With one-half the corps composed of such men, great results might be confidently hoped for. It is not proper that I should publish here the details of the operations I propose; out I may say that my plans have the highest military and official approval in the land. I voluntarily relinquished a good position in a favorite arm of the service — the light artillery, where I commanded an independent battery over a year in the field, to engage in a system of warfare in the West, which I believe will be of great advantage to and damage the enemy very seriously, if it does not ultimately drive him from the mountains. I don't propose to rely much on military science, but mainly on great celerity of movement, sleepless vigilance, good marksmanship and plenty of old-fashioned rough fighting and bushwhacking, to make the country hot to permit a Yankee to show his head outside of his camp. I therefore want men we will march all night, or sit behind a tree all day for the chance of a good shot at a Yankee with a double-barrelled shot gun, and consider the gratification cheaply purchased, and the arms captured so much clear gain. My headquarters will be at Staunton for the present, where I will remain during the organization. As fast as companies of 60 or 64 men are organized, they will be put in the field. I desire all who can, to bring the best arms they have — shot guns, rifles, pistols, &c. We will try and get better ones hereafter. Also, one good suit of clothes, with a change of under-clothing, and one good blanket. Mounted men will furnish their own horses on the same terms as cavalry. Letters addressed to Hugh W. Sheffey. Esq., Speaker of the House of Delegates, Richmond, will be forwarded to me — or he will answer them.
J. D. Imboden,
Col. of Partisan Rangers.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1862