order moving the troops embraced in the list given to me, as they are needed for more in Virginia than here. The order cutting down the companies to 80 men each has already been enforced, though it is clearly against law,which allows 125 men to each company. The three South Carolina regiments will carry on fewer men than you supposed, and this will make Butler's brigade small even at the commencement of the campaign, which will, of course, reduce it still further. I recommend that four regiments be put in this brigade, which can be done by adding the Holcombe Legion or the Hampton Legion to it. I should prefer the latter. General Butler goes with me to Charleston to-morrow,and he will leave in a few days for Richmond, where he will consult with you as to his command. I have arranged for forage as far as Charlotte, and I hope to hear that General Lawton has established depots along the line of march. Aiken's regiment has been relieved from duty by General Beauregard, and it is now getting ready to move. There is a company of light artillery in this State,commanded by Captain Earle, and he has applied to be transferred to my command in Virginia. This application was approved by General Lee, provided horses could be obtained for the battery. Captain Earle writes that there would be no difficulty in procuring them by impressment if orders to that effect were given. He now has 75 good horses, and I can furnish at once 5 more in Virginia. He would need only about 40 more, which I feel sure can readily be furnished from captured horses. So anxious is Captain Earle to get into active service that he has refused a commission as major, in the hope that his battery will be ordered to join me. I am very desirous of having a battery of South Carolina artillery with me,and I respectfully that you will let me have Captain Earle's company to add to that of Captain Hart, now with me. I shall keep you advised of the movements of these troops, and I will write from Charleston if there is any necessity for me to do so.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, March 30, 1864.
His Excellency J. DAVIS,
President Confederate States:
MR. PRESIDENT: Since my former letter on the subject the indications that operations in Virginia will be vigorously prosecuted by the enemy are stronger than they then were. General Grant has returned from the army in the West. He is at present with the Army of the Potomac,which is being reorganized and recruited. From the reports of our scouts the impression prevails in that army that he will operate it in the coming campaign. Every train brings it recruits, and it is stated that every available regiment at the North is added to it. It is also reported that General Burnside is organizing a large army at Annapolis, and it seems probable that additional troops are being sent to the valley. It is stated that preparations are making to rebuild the railroad from Harper's Ferry to Winchester, which would indicate a reoccupation of the latter place. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is very closely guarded along its whole extent. No ingress or egress from their lines is permitted to