HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS, December 11, 1864.
General R. E. LEE:
Your letter of the 9th is received. I think that the local troops may be depended upon to hold the part of the line now occupied my them if we can organize them into proper commands and get proper officers for the commands. I think it would be well to have an active major-general in command of the force who can get about well on foot, as we can hardly expect a horse to live under the fire that will probably be opened upon that part of our lines by the enemy when hi is prepared to attempt to take it. General Ewell could not ge about, therefore, rapidly enough to do as much as he would like, besides such would not be his proper or legitimate duties. I have thought of the expediency of replacing the locals by other troops before, but was apprehensive that the authorities at Richmond might conclude that they were not necessary, if they were put in any other position, and that they might take them from us. All of the other troops are likely to be needed at some time at other points and to be moved to other points, which would involve the necessity of sending the locals back to their present line. Such changes would have a tendency to impair their confidence in themselves and to magnify the dangers of the position. There can hardly be a doubt but that proper organization and proper officers will soon make this force as effective and reliable as any that we have. I would suggest that course, as the most likely to meet the best interests of the service. Everything that I can get in the shape of working utensils is kept busy, and I am doing all that I possibly can to preserve the health of the troops, as well as to add to their comfort. I am pleased at all times, however, to have any suggestions that you may make, and am gratified to find that you in your numerous duties do not lose sight of these small matters, which are so essential to the general interest of the service.
I remain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
RICHMOND, December 12, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel J. L. CORLEY,
Chief Quartermaster, near Petersburg:
SIR: Your communication of the 10th ultimo in relation to the wants of the Army of Norther Virginia, in the way of clothing, was received. Since its receipt several special requisitions with inforsements on the same subject have also been received. A reply has been delayed in order that the information you request might be put in as definite a form as possible, and it was not ascertained until the close of last week at what time blankets and other supplies expected from Wilmington and Columbia would reach here. It was with some surprise that the department learned the great necessities of the troops. There has certainly been some misunderstanding. The impression here has all along been that you were receiving enough to make the army not only efficient but comfortable. Your silence, coupled with the issues actually made, gave rise to this belief. Major Janney remarks, November 19, that 'the great deficiency of clothing has been frequently repre-