STAUNTON, VA., December 24, 1863.
Major General J. A. EARLY,
Commanding Forces in Valley of Virginia:
GENERAL: Having had a thirty days' leave of absence in my pocket since the 7th instant, and my reasons for going home being very urgent, I will leave in the morning. I have remained here on duty for the past two weeks because I believed my knowledge of the country would be of essential service to the country; bu; t as you are now in a region well known to yourself, those peculiar advantage no longer attaches to my services, and I know that Ileave my brigade in the hands of a highly competent officer, Colonel George H. Smith, of the Sixty-second Regiment, who will handle the troops certainly as well, perhaps better than I could do. If in pursuit of supplies you have to go to Hampshire Cuonty, or send over there, permit me to recommend to you, as fully acquainted with all the resources of that county and Hardy, Captain George W. Stump, of the Eighteenth Virginia Cavalry. Captain Stump can give you more valuable information than any man in my command in regard to supplies in Hampshire and Hardy. He knows where every lot of cattle in those counties can be obtained, and has vere recently returned from a trip there in search of supplies. I take pleasure in recommending him to you as a man perfectly reliable in every respect, and one who will be exceedingly valuable to you, should you send to the counties named. Colonel Smith will report to you with the brigade as soon as he can reach you in the jaded condition of our horses.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. IMBODEN
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Raleigh, December 30, 1863.
His Excellency President DAVIS:
MY DEAR SIR: After a careful consideration of all the sources of discontent in NOrth Carolina, I have concluded that it will be perhaps impossible to remove it except by making some efforts at negotiation with the enemy. The recent action of the Federal House of Representatives, though meaning very little, has greatly excited the public hope that the Northern mind is looking toward peace. I am promised by all men who advocate this course that if fair terms are rejected it will tend greatly to strengthen and intensify the war feeling and will rally all classes to a more cordial support of the Government; and although our position is well known as demanding only to be let alone, yet it seems to me that, for the sake of humanity, without having any weak or improper motives attributed to us, we might with propriety constantly tender negotiations. In doing so we would keep conspicuously before the world a disclaimer of our responsibility for the great slaughter of our race and convince the humblest of our citizens, who sometimes forget that actual situation, that the Government is tender of their lives and happiness and would not prolong their sufferings unneccessarily one moment. Though statesmen might regard this as uselless, the people will not, and I think our cause will be strengthened thereby. I have not suggested the method of these negotiations or their tems; the effort to obtain peace is the principal matter. Allow me to beg your earnest consideration of this suggestion.
Very respectfully, yours,
Z. B. VANCE.