War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1265 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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mond. I have already stated my views on the subject in my interview with you since the date of your letter, which renders a more extended reply unnecessary. I know of no reason to prevent your counting upon the time suggested in your letter.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Petersburg, February 28, 1865.

Honorable J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,

Secretary of War, Richmond:

GENERAL: I informed you some days since of the number of desertions that were occurring in this army. I have since received reports of those which took place between the 15th and 25th instant, viz:

Longstreet's corps:

Kershaw's division.................................... 32

Field's division...................................... 52

Pickett's division.................................... 64

_____ 148

Early's corps:

Gordon's division..................................... 72

Grimes' (Rhodes') division............................ 13

Early's division...................................... 58

_____ 143

Hill's corps:

Heth's division...................................... 184

Wilcox's division.................................... 319

Mahone's division.................................... 83

______ 586

Anderson's corps:

B. R. Johnson's division............................ 217

______ 217

_______

1,094

Most of these men are supposed to have gone to their homes, but a number have deserted to the enemy. In B. R. Johnson's division alone 178 are reported to have gone over to the enemy. In addition to the above, General Gordon reports that on the night of the 26th from 75 to 100 of Grimes' division deserted and 15 from Johnston's (North Carolina) brigade (Early's division). These men generally went off in bands, taking arms and ammunition, and I regret to say that the greatest number of desertions have occurred among the North Carolina troops, who have fought as gallantly as any soldiers in the army. A large detachment from Heth's division has been sent to certain counties in North Carolina with a view to arrest them, and a brigade has been detached to guard the ferries of the Roanoke. I have only heard as yet of sixty-three having been captured. I shall do all in my power to arrest the evil, but I am convinced, as already stated to you, that it proceeds, from the discouraging sentiment out of army, which unless it can be changed, will bring us calamity. This defection in troops who have acted so nobly and borne so much is so distressing to me that I have thought proper to give you the particulars.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

80 R R-VOL XLVI, PT II