principle of military control under which a commanding general can send infantry or cavalry companies, regiments, brigadiers, &c., where he deems it necessary, must, of course, apply to artillery organizations of whatever kind, and besides, as you observe, we expressly guard this point in our bill. General Lee would undoubtedly have commented unfavorably on this feature of the plan had it constituted, in his judgment, a real objection. Second, that what may suit a large army may not be adapted to smaller commands. This the bill also provides for; it is not mandatory, only permissive, each case can be arranged according to its own conditions. Third, officers assigned under law become inconvenient fixtures. There is undoubtedly an evil here, though we guard against it by a clause in the bill, and besides whatever be the evil it pertains equally to the infantry and cavalry regiments, brigades, &c., yet the advantages of a definite legal system for them have been found greatly to overbear the disadvantages suggested; and so it would prove for similar reasons in the artillery.
These views, my dear sir, I submit with kind candor yet with sincere deference. Impartial observers like yourself, surveying processes from a position allowing wider range of view, can often detect errors which escape the notice of those whose attention is more occupied with details; but in case of this nature, where all the chief officers of an arm, under frequent appeals from those of highest authority associated with them, concur in recommending a specific arrangement as well tested by experience and approved in their judgment; and when that recommendation is enforced by the deliberate approval of so rigidly careful a judge as General Lee, I feel that there can be little danger of mistake in asking for the legislation in question as really needed and likely to promote the best interest of the service.
Believe me, dear sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. N. PENDLETON,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery.
HDQRS. ARTY. CORPS, ARMY OF N. VA.,
November 15, 1864.
Special Orders, No. 45, of the 3rd instant, from these headquarters, is hereby revoked, and Major Owen will again until further orders report to Colonel R. L. Walker, chief of Third Corps artillery.
By command of General Pendleton:
D. D. PENDLETON,
First. A scout from New Berne reports we are to be attacked by a land force under General Weitzel, landing on the sound to the east and south of us, and attacking Fort Fisher in the rear. A successful lodgment closes the port. We have no means now of resisting it. Not 1,000 men outside of the forts, and not a battalion which has ever been under fire. They would make no resistance whatever to a landing, covered by the heavy metal of the enemy's gun-boats. That landing and lodgment once made and the harbor is lost, which is the great object of the enemy's expedition.
77 R R - VOL XLII, PT III