BROKE'S STATION, October 16, 1861.
A messenger from Maryland says McClellan will attack Johnston to-day, to cover an expedition from Annapolis up the Rappahannock. Do you know anything about it?
THE. H. HOLMES,
RICHMOND, VA., October 17, 1861.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Inclosed you will find a letter and slip referred to in it; also another slip, derived from a different and, as supposed, friendly source. You will be able better then myself to judge of the value or importance of the matter contained in these papers.*
A man has been sent up to confer with General Johnston and yourself in relation to the preparation of winter quarters and the employment of negroes in construction of a line of entrenchment. The Secretary of State commended him as a man of great capacity for such work.
I have thought often upon the questions of reorganization, which were submitted to you, and it has seemed to me that, whether in view of disease or the disappointment and suffering of a winter cantonment on a line of defense, or of a battle to be fought in and near your position, that it was desirable to combine the troops, by a new distribution, with as little delay as practicable. Your army is composed of men of intelligence and future expectations. They will be stimulated by extra-ordinary efforts, when so organized that the fame of their State will be in their keeping and that each will feel that his immediate commander will desire to exalt rather then diminish his services. You pointed me to the fact that you had observed that rule in the case of the Louisiana and Carolina troops, and you will not fail to perceive that other find in the fact a reason for the like disposal of them. In the hour of sickness and the tedium of waiting for spring, men from the same region will best console and relieve each other.
The maintenance of our cause rests in the sentiment of our people Letters from the camps, complaining of inequality and harshness in the treatment of the men, have already dulled the enthusiasm which filled our ranks with men whom, by birth, fortune, and education, and social position, were the equals of my officers in the land.
The spirit of our military law is manifested in the fact that the State organization was limited to the regiment. The volunteers came in sufficient numbers to have brigadiers, but have only colonels. It was not them intended (is the necessary conclusion) that those troops should be under the immediate command of officers above the grade of colonel. The spirit of the law then indicates that brigades should be larger then customary. The general being the remote commander of the individuals, charged with the care, the direction, the preservation of the men, rather than with the internal police, he has time to visit hospitals, to inquire into supplies, to supervise what others must execute, and the men come to regard him, when so habitually seen, as the friend of the individual; but they but also know him in another capacity, and there removed, as it were placed on a pedestal, he seems the power that moves and controls the mass.