War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1245 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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permit. I have had no official report of the condition of General Beauregard's health; it is stated from many sources to be bad. If he should break entirely down, it might be fatal. In that event I should have no one with whom to supply his place. I therefore respectfully request General Johnston may be ordered to report to me and that I may be informed where he is.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Richmond, Va., February 21, 1865.

General R. E. LEE:

GENERAL: My strong convictions of the absolute necessity of beating Sherman induce me to suggest to you the collection of all available troops from other points for this purpose. would it not be better that points of secondary importance should be uncovered, or even temporarily lost, to accomplish this great object? If the infantry with Early, the brigade in Southwest Virginia, the troops in Western North Carolina, could be assembled at once and added to all available from other quarters, might not a sufficient force be collected to destroy Sherman? This would still leave a cavalry force in Valley and the southwest. If it were possible to assemble and equal or superior force to meet him, presence, great results might be achieved; and something of this sort must be done at once or the situation is lost. If you determine to make these dispositions, or any others, all the energies of this Department will be bent to sustain you.

Pardon these suggestions, which are merely submitted to your better judgment, and which spring from the deep interest I feel and my conviction of the necessity of immediate action.

With great respect,

JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,

Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

February 21, 1865.

Honorable JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Secretary of War:

Major A. E. Richards, of Mosby's regiment, reports that on the 18th instant, with thirty-eight men, he attacked a party of the enemy 120 strong; killed and wounded 25, among the latter a major, and captured 64 prisoners and 90 horses. He had 1 man slightly wounded.

R. E. LEE.

RICHMOND, February 21, 1865.

General R. E. LEE, Petersburg, Va.:

The Secretary of War desires to know what amount of surplus small-arms there may be in the several regiments of your command, with a view to arm exchanged prisoners which may be sent to re-enforce you.

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.