I only ask for the expression of this determination that it may go forth to the world, giving strength and confidence to our friends at home, and convincing our enemies and the world of the earnestness of our resolve. Already have the brave men of the West, with loud acclaim, declared their purpose. Longstreet has sent its echoes from the bleak and frozen hills of East Tennessee back to the Atlantic shore, and in the Army of Northern Virginia the veterans of Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia, in other corps, have nobly responded to the call. Now, while many of your companions are at their homes renewing their strength for the coming campaign, is a most fitting opportunity for this declaration. Now, while surrounded by their friends, in the sweet presence of those whom it is their sacred duty to defend, now while the smiles of love and beauty are ready to reward, let them renew their vows of patriotism, and go in for the war. Already has Lomax's brigade of your division gone in to a man; what shall I say of the rest of Lee's division, which has never yet been behind in any noble work?
I have the honor to be, &c., very respectfully,
J. E. B. STUART,
HEADQUARTERS BUTLER'S CAVALRY BRIGADE,
February 10, 1864.
Major H. B. MCCLELLAN,
MAJOR: I have the honor, very respectfully, to ask that this brigade be relieved with four full regiments from the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. It is impossible to recruit the brigade unless this is done. I cannot see how General Beauregard's department would be loser by this exchange. In less than a month after the exchange, this brigade, being on the coast and near their homes, would be as full as the new regiments. Two-thirds of my brigade are dismounted, and it is impossible to mount them in Virginia. Many of the companies have become depleted by casualties in action to such a degree that they have fallen below the minimum, and these companies would be able in a short time to recruit up to the requisite number. Something must be done, and done soon, or at the beginning of the spring campaign this brigade will not put as many men in the field for duty as ought to constitute one regiment. The authorities are already too well aware that our capital has more than once been endangered and exposed to the raids of the enemy, and all for the reason that our cavalry force was too small to cope with the enemy, and scarcely sufficient to keep up the picket-line. If portions of our country are laid waste and our capital exposed for the want of cavalry, why not have it when so much is lying idle and actually in need of exercise? I respectfully propose that one full regiment be ordered on at once and permit me to send back two in its place. At the expiration of a month let three others be ordered up, and send back my remaining three. This will be giving General Beauregard five regiments for four.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. M. B. YOUNG,
73 R R-VOL XXXIII