ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 283.
Richmond, November 28, 1863.
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XIII. Brigadier-General Clingman will proceed with his brigade without delay to North Carolina and replace Brigadier-General Ransom's brigade at Goldsborough and Weldon. The latter brigade, on being relieved, will proceed to Petersburg, Va., and report to Major-General Pickett.
Brigadier-General Barton will forthwith proceed with his brigade to Hanover Junction, and hold himself subject to the orders of General Lee.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
November 29, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States, Richmond, Va.:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th instant, inclosing one from General Bragg.
The enemy is in force in my front and I shall necessarily be brief, but will give you the substance of the views which have suggested themselves to me, after much previous reflection, on the subjects referred to by General Bragg.
1. I think it a matter of the first importance that our armies now in the field shall be retained in service and recruited by wise and effectual legislation. This cannot be done too soon. The law should not be open to the charge of partiality, and I do not know how this can be accomplished without embracing the whole population capable of bearing arms, with the most limited exemptions, avoiding anything that would look like a distinction of classes. The exemptions of persons of particular and necessary avocations had better be made as far as possible by authority of the Department rather than by special enactment.
I think the general exemption of such persons by law is open to much abuse, and many escape service under color of them who are only nominally within the provisions of the law, and who can be taken into service without prejudice to the necessary productions of the country.
I also am of opinion that the skeleton regiments should be consolidated nder the authority of the Department when necessary, and the provision should extend to all arms of the service. If possible, some prospective bounty should be provided for the men who have been and will be again retained in service. As to the imperative necessity for retaining tem, and adding sufficiently to their numbers to enable them to copy with the enemy, there can be no doubt, and all the constitutional power of Congress be fully exerted for this purpose.
2. With reference to mounting the cavalry on government horses, I should be glad if it could be accomplished, but do not see how the