necessary to give, to correspond directly with the Department in this city.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
P. S.-Should the militia be called out, you will take measures not to interfere with the counties in which General H. Heth is operating.
W. H. TAYLOR,
LEBANON, RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA, March 13, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: I received yesterday the dispatch containing your special order touching the number of men, &c., in the Virginia regiments under my command, and I have placed the blanks in the hands of commandants to comply as speedily as practicable with your requirements.
In this connection let me call your attention to the battalion at Pound Gap-those special-service men. My advice is to disband them immediately, so that they may be embraced in the call for the militia, which will be a general service, or in the regular draft. They could not be induced to muster for three years, as I was led to suppose they would. If the Government would furnish horses to cavalry enlisted for three years, or during the war, I think I could raise a battalion very rapidly of the best material. Men cannot buy their horses and equipments. That day has gone by. I supposed it was the law (and think so yet) to furnish Government horses to men enlisting for the war, and accordingly I ordered the purchase of some seven or eight; but my attention was called to a printed circular of the department regulations, which declares that the Government will not furnish cavalry horses, and I have desisted from further purchases. If I had the control I never would mount a volunteer upon his own horse or have in cavalry service any animal but a public one. A long experience as a cavalry officer with volunteers has made this one of my fixed opinions. Please to advise me whether I may or may not go on to mount a squadron or more. I have the equipments and sabers for a squadron of cavalry, but no horses.
After the resignation of Lieutenant-Colonel Simms I found it expedient, for reasons connected with the harmony of my officers and the efficiency of the mounted force, to reorganize that force. A battalion of five companies (Thomas', Clay's, Holliday's, Cameron's, and Stoner's) have been placed in a battalion of mounted rifles. They have regularly elected my assistant adjutant-general as major to command the battalion, and he has entered upon the duties of his new office. I request his commission as major of the First Mounted Rifles of this brigade. It will be my object to swell this battalion to 500 men.
Charles Duncan, appointed by Lieutenant-Colonel Simms, will remain adjutant of the battalion, and I ask his commission as adjutant of the First Mounted Rifles. Captain Witcher has a company of 64 mounted rifles, and Captain Stratton has another of the same, only partially made out. If these companies are made out they will be soon a very