ject of examining boards. I know that the onerous duties of the Department prevent you from giving your personal attention to the merits of the various cases as they are forwarded, but I think that in many of them the power of acting can with great advantage be delegated to a discreet officer, and thus secure prompt action. There are five classes of cases presented in the reports of the examining boards:
First. Where the report of the board is favorable to the promotion of an officer entitled to the same by seniority or election.
Second. In which the report of the board is favorable to an officer whose competency for his present position has been questioned.
Third. Where the board reports unfavorably to the promotion of an officer entitled otherwise to be promoted by seniority or election.
Fourth. In which an officer is found unfit for his present position through physical disability, and it is recommended that he be honorably retired from the service.
Fifth. When the board finds the officer incompetent for his present position or careless and inattentive in the discharge of his duties, and it is recommended that he be dropped.
Though all the boards are now usually appointed under the act Numbers 26, General Orders, Numbers 93, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, series of 1862, in order to give greater authority to their proceedings and formality to the records, I think it is clear that the Department has the power to act in all these classes of cases except the two last, and the power, I thin, might be delegated with advantage to the officer specially assigned to this duty.
The cases presented in the fourth and fifth classes must, it seems, under the law, if you approve the finding of the board, be laid before the President; but those of the fourth class are nearly all provided for by the act establishing an invalid corps, and those of the fifth class are not sufficient in number to accumulate to any great extent. If some method could with propriety be adopted to facilitate the examination of these reports, and secure prompt action upon them, it would contribute much to the discipline of the army.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA. Numbers 27.
April 5, 1864.
I. The army will be immediately placed in condition to march, and rations and forage for seven days will be kept on hand. All sick men who cannot advantageously [be] kept in the field will be sent back to hospitals, and all visitors, to the army will retire from the lines. Officers will habitually encamp with their commands, and the occupation of houses is prohibited.
The transportation and camp equipate will conform to the following schedule, and should circumstances require a further reduction during the campaign it will be made prorate for officers and men:
Army headquarters, one 4-horse wagon.
Inspector-general and assistants, one 4-horses wagon.
Chief quartermaster and commissary of subsistence and their assistants, one 4-horse wagon.
Chief of ordnance and assistants, one 4-horse wagon.