ments I have made frequent efforts to do so, but the matter has in every instance been referred to the generals commanding those departments, and they have always objected to the transfers. I do not believe the Secretary of War will order these commands to this army without their consent. I will, however, write again, and urge the matter upon his attention, and recommend that General Butler be sent on the special mission which you propose.
If you desire to take command in the Army of the Mississippi I will not interpose any objection, though I should be sorry to lose your services in this army.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, January 23, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: The cavalry of this army, by its hard service, summer and winter, and through the deficiency of forage in the latter season, has become very much reduced. This is especially true of the two southern brigades, which have not the same opportunities of remounting themselves with those form Virginia. The enemy have always had on this line a cavalry force greatly superior in numbers, and will doubtless recruit their cavalry divisions largely before the next campaign. I hear of no recruits coming to this army, and see but little prospect of any, as they all choose the regiments and companies (already filled to overflowing) which ar not called upon for very active duty. I think it is of the highest importance that steps should be taken to strengthen our cavalry. I recommend that some portion of the cavalry in South Carolina and Southwestern Virginia be sent to this army so soon as the grass begins to grow. I know that the commanders of these departments will make objections to this, but I think it for the department to decide whether our forces are to remain scattered over the country or to be concentrated to meet the superior forces of the enemy. I recommend that a South Carolina regiment be formed of the Holcombe Legion (five companies) in the Department of Richmond, and four companies under Major Whitner in Southwestern Virginia, and one of the detached companies in South Carolina; that this and one regiment from South Carolina be added to the two South Carolina regiments in this army to form a South Carolina brigade. I would recommend that General Butler be sent to South Carolina to complete this brigade and to recruit and companies on duty in that State. General Hampton reports to me four South Carolina regiments of cavalry in that department, numbering about 4,600 men, besides twelve companies, five of which were raised without proper authority. I recommend that Millen's Georgia battalion of four companies be added to the Jeff. Davis Legion; that the Phillips Legion be recruited by four companies from Georgia on duty in that State or in North Carolina, and that these, with Anderson's regiment from Georgia, be formed into a brigade. I would ask, too, that the order once issued assigning the Eighth and Fourteenth Virginia Regiments to this army be re-