retained in line of battle, having been in the same condition the two previous days and nights. I regret to be obliged to state that under these circumstances, heightened by assaults and fire of the enemy, some of the men had been without meet for three days, and all were suffering from reduced rations and scant clothing, exposed to battle, cold, hail, and sleet. I have directed Colonel Cole, chief commissary, who reports that he has not a pound of meat at his disposal, to visit Richmond and see if nothing can be done. If some change is not made and the commissary department reorganized, I apprehend dire results. The physical strength of the men, if their courage survives, must fail under this treatment, Our cavalry has to be dispersed for want of forage. Fitz Lee's and Lomax's divisions are scattered because supplies cannot be transported where their services are required. I had to bring William H. F. Lee's division forty miles Sunday night to get him in position.
Taking these facts in connection with the paucity of our numbers, you must not be surprised if calamity befalls us. According to reports of prisoners we were opposed on Hatcher's Run by the Second and Fifth Corps, part of the Ninth, one division of the Sixth, and Gregg's division (three brigades) of cavalry. It was also reported that the Twenty-third Corps (Schofield's) reached City Point the 5th, and that it was present; but this is not confirmed by other reports. At last accounts it was stated to be on the Potomac, delayed by ice. A scout near Alexandria reports it is to march on Gordonsville, General Baker on Kinston. I think it more probable it will join Grant here.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Respectfully sent to the President for perusal. Please return it.
JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Secretary of War.
This is too sad to be patiently considered, and cannot have occurred without criminal neglect or gross incapacity. Let supplies be had by purchase, or borrowing, or other possible mode.
HEADQUARTERS JOHNSON'S DIVISION,
February 8, 1865.
Major R. P. DUNCAN,
MAJOR: I have nothing unusual to report this morning. One man deserted to the enemy from Elliott's brigade last night. No casualties to report.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. R. JOHNSON,