say that it cannot be done because all the North Carolina brigades are full, I have the honor to ask now that the First, Third, and Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiments, which belong to brigades from other States, and the Thirty-third, belonging to Lane's brigade, which has five regiments, be constituted a brigade. I have no disposition to interfere unduly with the arrangements of the generals in the field, but so great is the desire of these brave men for this arrangement that I am induced to urge it, if it can be done without injury to the service. They have petitioned me to assist them in getting it accomplished.
Z. B. VANCE.
DECEMBER 15, 1863.
Let this be referred to the generals under whose commands these regiments are serving, with an expression of my desire that, when the interests of the service will permit, troops from the same State may be brigaded together.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
December 18, 1863.
Respectfully referred to General R. E. Lee, commanding.
Please see indorsement of the Secretary of War.
By command of Secretary of War:
H. L. CLAY,
January 7, 1864.
On several occasions when this subject has been referred to me, I have stated that the First and Third Regiments North Carolina troops were brigaded with three Virginia regiments, the whole under General George H. Steuart, an officer of experience of the old army, from the State of Maryland. This, at the time, was rendered necessary from the fact that I had no North Carolina regiments to brigade with them, all the other North Carolina brigades having been filled. These troops have been serving together for some time. Their commander cannot be disposed to treat them unfairly, and is very attentive to their comfort and interests. I cannot withdraw them without breaking up this brigade.
The Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiment was brigaded with three Mississippi regiments before it joined this army, and while serving in the vicinity of Richmond or south of James River. To take it away now would break up that brigade (Davis'). General Lane's brigade by the last return numbered 2,398, aggregate. To take from in the Thirty-third North Carolina, one of the largest in the brigade, would reduce it to about 1,900 men. This brigade is composed entirely of North Carolina regiments, is one of the oldest in service, and I think it would be disadvantageous to reduce it, unless I had