the want willbe supplied, and the operation will be fairly and effectually performed. Pray consider and submit this matter also, and let us have the best results you can reach for our need.
I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. N. PENDLETON,
Brigadier- General, and Chief of Artillery.
September 5, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
GENERAL: Yur letter of the 4th is received. Colonel Walton expressed the desire to have a command at Mobile some time ago. He is getting almost too old for our active and severe winter service in this climate.
I do not know enough of our facilities for transporting troops, &c., west, to say what time would be consumed in moving my corps to Tennessee and back.
Your information will enemle you to determine this much better than I. I believe, though, that the enemy intends to confine his great operations to the west, and that it is time that we were shaping our movements to meet him.
If this army is ready to assume offensive operations, I think that it would be better for us to remain on the defensive hee, and to re- enforce the west, and take the offensive there. We can hold here with a smaller force than we would require for offensive operationa; and iff it should become necessary to retire as far as Richmond temporarily, I think that we could better afford to do so than we can to give up any more of our western country. I will say more; I think that it is time that we had begun to do something in the west, and I fear if it is put off any longer we shall be too late.
If my corps cannot go west, I think that we might accomplish something by giving me Jenkins', Wise's, and Cooke's brigades, and putting me in General Bragg's place,and giving him my corps. Agood artillery battalion should go with these brigades. We would surely make no great risk in such a change and we might gain a great deal.
I feel that I am influenced by no personal motive in this suggestion, and will most cheerfully give up, ehen we have a fair prospect of holding our western country.
I doubt if General Bragg has confidence in his troops or himself either. He is not likely to do a great deal for us.
Mr. Hyden will give the ladies quarters. I believe that he has a very pleasant place.
I aremain, most respectfully, your obedient srvant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, September 5, 1863.
Colonel GEORGE S. PATTON,
COLONEL: The major- general commanding directs me to say that the threatining aspect of affairs in front of Saltville makes it neces