HDQRS. ARTILLERY, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 17, 1865.
Colonel THOMAS H. CARTER, Acting Chief of Artillery, Second Corps:
COLONEL: I am desired by General Lee to communicate with you respecting the disposition to be made of the four artillery battalions which have been and are still serving with General Early's command. This indorsement to-day made by him on a paper respecting them which I submitted to him will show his views:
I see no prospect of furnishing more than two battalions with horses for the ensuing campaign. The other two battalion should be brought to this army, where they could be of service.
Subsequently to his writing this I saw him on the subject. He wishes the twenty-eight guns, with all the public horses and appurtenances, to be assigned to two of the battalions, and the other two battalions to be brought down to this army as soon as it can be conveniently done. The general leaves it very much to General Early, yourself, and myself to determine which two battalions shall remain there and which come down. They are all such good commands that no particular preference need be expressed. You can converse with General Early and the battalion commanders, and either determine on some grounds thus developed or have it decided by lot.
The service indicated by General Lee for those that come is working some of the powerful guns defending James River from Drewry's Bluff to Howlett's - a noble charge, that will try the best officers and men if the enemy pushes up his monitors, as the general seems to anticipate. Some may also be needed here at Fort Clifton, on the Appomattox. On some accounts, I should venture to suggest Colonel Nelson's and Major Cutshaw's battalion to come; and if Major C. prefers more active duty, and would like service with the cavalry, I may get for him one of the battalions of horse artillery which it is proposed to arrange. The idea is to form five such battalions of two batteries each, each battalion to have its own major commanding, with a quartermaster and ordnance officer, the whole to be supervised by Chew, made lieutenant-colonel. I merely suggest this, however, for Major Cutshaw's consideration. The composite nature of his companies since Spotsylvania Court-House, and the fact that there are already on duty with this army a number of detailed men belonging to his companies, which men had best be with their own companies, [sic] his, in my judgment, as one of the battalion to come. Colonel Nelson's original experience with heavy guns, and the cheerful readiness of himself and his command for any duty most conducive to our cause, as they have long been known to me, commend his to my mind as the other battalion to come. But, while suggesting them, I do not consider myself at liberty to decide the question without a reasonable regard to the wishes of the officers and men, and without the sanction of General Early and yourself. Please, therefore, consult, and, with Colonel Early's approval, decide as you find best. When they are to come down let either the senior officer or the next in command precede them by at least twenty-four hours, so as to come to Petersburg for instructions as to the destination of the commands when they arrive at Richmond.
W. N. PENDLETON,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery.
P. S.- I should add that, although General Lee considers it right, fairly, to let the battalions thus brought down know how unfavorable the prospect now is of getting horses enough by spring to re-equip