JUNE 29, 1864.
General Early appears to me to have clearly exceeded his authority in disbanding these reserves. They are under the command of General Kemper by special order from the President, and had been only detailed or ordered to report to General Early (or more strictly to General Breckinridge). When, therefore, he had no longer need for them, they should have been returned to General Kemper's command, and the discharge, if to be made, should have been by him, acting under the President's order. Let an order prevent such discharges in future, except through the commanders specially assigned to command the reserves.
J. A. S.
LYNCHBURG, June 29, 1864.
The Secretary of War seems to be under the impression that I have a force here. Such is not the case. Otey's disabled men is the only force I have. The reserves are at the High Bridge. I cannot take care of or forward prisoners sent to me, unless the guard from Richmond goes with them. With the number of prisoners sent today from Richmond I will have to send men who before the late attack on Lynchburg were themselves prisoners, and whom I released for the occasion. I wish you would get the President's pardon for these men. They have done their duty since their release faithfully, except a few whom I would wish to except from the general pardon.
FRANCIS T. NICHOLLS,
Petersburg, June 29, 1864.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I inclose for your perusal a letter* received to-day from General Early. His general plan of action is in conformity to my original instructions and conversation with him before his departure. I still think it is our policy to draw the attention of the enemy to his own territory. It may force Grant to attack me, or weaken his forces. It will also, I think, oblige Hunter to cross the Potomac or expose himself to attack. From either of these events I anticipate good results. The success of General J. E. Johnston, announced in this morning's journals, besides its general good effect, will favor Early's movement. If it could be united with a release of the prisoners at Point Lookout the advantages would be great. I believe the latter only requires a proper leader. Can one be found?
There will be time to shape Early's course or terminate it when he reaches the Potomac, as circumstances require. He could not be withdrawn from the Valley without inviting a return of Hunter's expedition. To retain him there inactive would not be advanta-
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