with General A. It is my intention to send to you Rosser's brigade of cavalry as soon as I can discover the intentions of General Grant. I then think you will be able to spare 'Kershaw. in the meantime I wish you to defeat Sheridan if your strength is sufficient. he seems disposed to protect himself under his entrenchments. If you could draw him up the Valley and fall upon him suddenly, or thrown a body of troops behind him, you might succeed in defeating him. If you think it best for you to remain on the defensive and can spare Kershaw, send him to me as secretly as you can, for I will then take the offensive myself. If you retain kershaw hold him in readiness to send to me at a moment's notice, and keep his division is as efficient condition as possible.
Wishing you success, I remain, very truly,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
September 17, 1864.
Lieutenant General J. A. EARLY,
GENERAL: I desire to have your views as to the propriety and expediency of reorganizing the Army of the Valley District. I think it possible to increase its efficiency by a change in its organization. The points to which I call your attention particularly, and on which I desire your opinion, are as follows: There is a small Georgia battalion in Vaughn's brigade which I think might be sent to this army with advantage, to be placed with the Phillips Legion and constitute a Georgia regiment. The Tennessee troops under General Vaughn should be kept together. Part of his command is now in Southwestern Virginia, and it might be advantageous to send the part with you to that department and let General Echols replace it with some Virginia troops from his command, which might be attached to one of your Virginia brigades; or, if this cannot be done, General Echols might send such of Vaughn's men a sarge with him to you, and you might replace them from some of your Virginia troops drawn from his department, which would enable him to recruit them. It might be well to attach Gilmor's battalion to the Maryland cavalry with General Johnson, and form a Maryland command under an officer from that State. Some of the Virginia brigades might be broken up with advantage, and the regiments assigned to others which are better disciplined, but weak in numbers-say Fitz Lee's division; or they might be attached to those brigades, or some of them, so as to form a new division. The object is to effect such an organization as will best secure the discipline and efficiency of the troops. But, while I have suggested the foregoing changes, I wish your views on the whole matter, as you are best able to recommend the mode of reorganization. The force of cavalry in that department is large by the field returns, and, if properly officered and organized, ought to be very formidable. Having indicated my object, I shall be guided by your advice in carrying it out. I shall endeavor to send you Rosser's brigade as soon as it can be spared, and hope that it will add considerably to the strength of your cavalry. It has occurred to me that as it is reported that many kentuckians are now coming into Southwestern Virginia, the presence of General Breckinridge in that department would be attended with good results. He