will promptly prefer charges against the commissioned officers and return to the ranks all others who neglect or refuse to carry out the foregoing instructions.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
February 22, 1865.
General R. L. LEE,
Major General G. W. C. Lee's pickets report that about 8,000 infantry from near Signal Hill moved down the river about 9.30 yesterday.
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES,
February 22, 1865.
Lieutenant General J. LONGSTREET,
GENERAL: Your letter of the 14th instant is received. It arrived during my absence in Richmond, and has not been overlooked. I agree with you entirely in believing that if we had gold we could get sufficient supplies for our army, but the great difficulty is to obtain the gold. It is not in the coffers of the Government or the banks, but is principally hoarded by individuals throughout the country, and is inaccessible to us. I hope under the reorganization of the Commissary Department, if we can maintain possession of our communications, that the army will be better supplied than heretofore, and that we can accumulate some provisions ahead. As regards the concentration of our troops near the capital, the effect would be to produce a like concentration of the enemy, and an increase of our difficulties on obtaining food and forage. But this, whether for good or evil, is now being accomplished by the enemy, who seems to be forcing Generals Beauregard and Bragg in this direction. If Sherman marches his army to Richmond, as General Beauregard reports it is his intention to do, and General Schofield is able to unite with him, we shall have to abandon our position on the James River, as lamentable as it is on every account. The want of supplies alone would force us to withdraw when the enemy reaches the Roanoke. Our line is so long, extending nearly from the Chickahominy to the Nottoway, and the enemy is so close upon us that if we are obliged to withdraw, we cannot concentrate all our troops nearer than some point on the line of railroad between Richmond and Danville. Should necessity therefore arise I propose to concentrate at or near Burkeville. The route for the troops north of James River would have to be through Richmond, on the road to Amelia Court-House, the cavalry passing up the north branch of the river and crossing at some point above Richmond. Pickett's division would take the route through Chesterfield Court-House, crossing the Appomattox at Goode's Bridge. With the army concentrated at or near Burkeville, our communications north and south would be by that railroad and west by the South Side Railroad. We might also seize the opportunity of striking at Grant, should be pursue us rapidly, or at Sherman, before they could unite.