the advantages of promotion if they deserve it. I believe the efficiency of the corps would be promoted by being commanded by lieutenant-generals, and I do not know where to get better men than those I have named.
R. H. Anderson and J. B. hood are also capital officers. They are improving, too, and will make good corps commanders, if necessary.
I think it is better to take officers from each corps respectively for promotion in the respective corps, as far as practicable, consideration being always given tot he best man in the particular army. If A. P. Hill is promoted, a major-general will be wanted for his division. Heth is the senior brigadier in the division. I think him a good officer. He has lately joined this army, was in the last battle, and did well. His nomination having been once declined by the Senate, I do not know whether it would be proper to promote him. Pender is an excellent officer, attentive, industrious, and brave; has been conspicuous in every battle, and, I believe, wounded in almost all of them.
I must now ask you to do in all this matter as seems best to you from your point of view. I have frankly given you my opinions from mine. I hope you will be able to give me your conclusions at your earliest convenience, as it is time I was in motion.
With earnest wishes for your health and happiness, and with great respect, I am your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
May 20, 1863.
Hon JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: The services of General Longstreet will be required with this army. Upon his leaving the department south of James River, I had supposed its command would have devolved upon General D. H. Hill, as the senior major-general. He informed me this morning that he directed the three major-generals in command of the several districts to report directly to the War Department. I would recommend, therefore, that General D. H. Hill be assigned to the command of the department between the James River and Cape Fear.
The battery at Drewry's Bluff, if considered more convenient, could be embraced within the command of General Elzey.
I wish General Hill to make such disposition of his troops as to give me all the force that can be spared from North Carolina.
Jenkins' brigade, belonging to Pickett's division, is still on the Blackwater, and I do not like to order it up until I hear whether proper dispositions are made to relieve it. It is much wanted with its division.
Our scouts report that General Heintzelman, with his corps from Washington, has joined General Hooker, Governor Curtin having promised to defend Washington City with 20,000 State troops.
I have not yet heard of any fleet of transports ascending the Potomac. Single transports are frequently seen coming up the river.
Regiments of the two-years' men are being discharged, I learn, as their time expires, and, it is thought, are sent off at night.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,