take the field against any force that might land there. I need not remind Your Excellency that the reserves are of great value in connection with our regular troops, to prevent disaster, but would be of little avail to retrieve it. For this reason they should be put in service before the numerical superiority of the enemy enables him to inflict a damaging blow upon the regular forces opposed to him. In my opinion the necessity for them will never be more urgent, or their services of greater value than now; and I entertain the same views as to the importance of immediately bringing into the regular service every man liable to military duty. It will be too late to do so after our armies meet with disaster, should such unfortunately be the case. I trust Your Excellency will excuse the length and earnestness of this letter, in view of the vital importance of its subject, and am confident that you will do all in your power to accomplish the objects I have in view.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, September 2, 1864.
Brigadier General J. L. KEMPER,
Commanding Reserves, &c., Richmond:
GENERAL: The time has arrived when the reserves can be made of great service, and I am desirous to know what number is now available. I hope your have been able to bring out the whole available force in Virginia. The strength of the enemy is such that we can spare none of the regular troops from the trenches for active operations in the field. My object is to occupy the trenches with the reserve forces as far as possible, so as to make the other troops disposable for any opportunity to strike at the enemy. I shall be obliged to your if you will furnish me a statement of the whole number of reserves enrolled, and also of the number ready for immediate service. I should also like to know what time will be required to bring out the whole force.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, September 2, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to inclose a copy of the correspondence between General Gregg, U. S. Army, and myself in reference to his request to be allowed to send parties to Reams' Station to bury the Federal dead. His letter was sent by flag of truce on the morning of the 27th of August. After my reply to him I detailed parties to bury the dead of the enemy, which work was accomplished without any molestation from the enemy. My pickets have been established since the morning of the 26th ultimo two miles east of Reams' Station, and the enemy has not appeared in sight of the station since the fight of the 25th.
I am, very respectfully, yours,