if there should be such a scheme in contemplation, I beg that the brigade of General Lane may not be mutilated for any such purpose, and that the Thirty-third North Carolina Regiment may be permitted to stay where it is. I believe five regiments to be a better brigade organization than four.
C. M. WILCOX,
HEADQUARTERS THIRD ARMY CORPS,
November 14, 1863.
I have no knowledge of any such movement.
A. P. HILL,
January 4, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded in connection with the letter from Governor Vance of December 11, 1863, this day returned to War Department.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS TEXAS BRIGADE,
December 12, 1863.
To the Texas Delegation in C. S. Congress:
GENTLEMEN: The casualties of the service have reduced my brigade to so small a number that, without some plan is adopted to fill up its ranks with recruits, it must ere long lose its identity and be merged into otehr commands. Of the services rendered by the Texas brigade I may not be the proper one to speak, but, as they are a part of the history of our struggle, I will be excused for asking in the name of the surviving officers and men that the regiments shall not be consolidated. The memory of our common toils and sufferings and that of our fallen comrades alike forbid a course that would destroy our organization. The next question that arises is, how can the brigade be recruited? The number present for duty this morning is 677 men and 87 officers, and this includes the Third Arkansas Regiment. I have four regiments in the brigade. The strength of the three Texas regiments is 516 men and 66 officers.
It is evident from these figures that we must either have our ranks filled up or soon cease to be an organization. We have tried the plan of sending recruiting officers to Texas and it failed. There is one other plan that offers to my mind a fair, if not certain, chance of success. It is to furlough the whole command as soon as the present campaign closes, and let it return home, making each officer and man a recruiting officer. Let them, by the conditions of the furlough, be required to rejoin their commands at such point west of the Mississippi as shall be ordered by Generals Smith or Magruder, or by the Secretary of War, on, say, the 1st day of April. I feel very confident that they would not only return promptly, but each officer and man would bring with him more or less recruits. An order from the Secretary of War allowing individual transfers from commands in Texas to the regiments of the brigade would