HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 8, 1862.
General J. G. MARTIN,
Adjutant and Inspector General North Carolina, Raleigh:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 1st instant is received, and I am much gratified to hear of the six regiments already ordered to move, and hope the others will soon be ready also. The President is not authorized by law to accept troops in larger organizations than regiments. He is required to organize the brigade and divisions and appoint the commanding generals. You will perceive that he has no authority to accept the troops referred to in your letter as a division. In organizing them into brigades and divisions the necessity of the service may require the separation of these troops and their distribution among the different divisions in the field. You will thus perceive that it is not in the power of the President to receive these troops as a division with yourself as major-general, and that the question of their organization into a single division must be determined by the exigencies of the service.
From these facts you will understand that the President is unable to appoint you as a major-general to command these particular troops, as you request. My impression, derived from a conversation with the President, is that he does not consider it expedient to appoint another major-general at this time. The law to which I have above alluded is the act approved March 6, 1861, Numbers 48.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 13, 1862.
Major General T. H. HOLMES,
Commanding Department, Goldsborough, N. C.:
GENERAL: I have received your telegram of yesterday reporting that the enemy was being re-enforced at New Berne, and asking if it wad desired that you should keep Colonel Clarke's regiment at Murfreesborough. As well as can be judged from this distance, this seems to be a good point to hold in defending that line of road, and it would appear advisable to retain it in vicinity. It is thought that the movements of Burnside are merely intended to divert our attention from other seriously-threatened points, and that no advance in force is contemplated by his column. Such is the pressure in Virginia that it is imperatively necessary to concentrate our forces to enable us successfully to meet the heavy columns of the enemy. It may be necessary to draw still further from your department, and you to make every exertion to get the State troops down from Raleigh and do all in your power toward arming them. All that we can hope is to hold and protect the line of road leading south through Weldon, Goldsborough, and should be advanced to Virginia and united with the army north of Richmond. The re-enforcements reported at New Berne are in all probability some force returning which has been moving about the sounds. Burnside has received none, as far as can be ascertained, from any other quarter.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,