it being deemed that unjust discrimination was made against them, and also by the popular error which has existed as to the number of brigades to which appointments could be specially urged on grounds of residence. While some have expressed surprise at my patience when orders to you were not observed, I have at least hoped that you would recognize desire to aid and sustain you, and that it would produce the corresponding action on your part. The reasons formerly offered have one after another disappeared, and I hope you will, as you can, proceed to organize your troops as heretofore instructed, and that the returns will relieve of the uncertainty now felt as to the numbers and relations of the troops and the commands of the officers having brigades or divisions.
As a general rule, I would not have less than four regiments to a brigade nor less than four brigades to a division. The limit above that must depend upon the character of the troops and of the officers.
I have been much relieved by the successes which you have gained, and hope for you the brilliant result which the drooping cause of our country now so imperatively claims. I will dwell on the lost opportunity afforded along the line of Northern Virginia, but must call your attention to the present condition of affairs and probable action of the enemy if not driven from his purpose to advance on the Fredericksburg route.
Richmond, Va., May 11, 1862.
SAMUEL S. WILSON, Esq.,
SIR: Your letter of the instant to the Secretary of War is received. The forces have been withdrawn from Norfolk and Portsmouth, but efforts will be made to continue railroad communication with the South through Weldon. I deem it a matter of great moment that the rolling stock and equipments of your road should be removed to a place of safety and placed where they can be made available on other roads.
Unless there should be danger of losing rolling stock there would be no objection to using the upper part of the road for transporting to Weldon such stores and supplies as may be collected along the route, but in no case should the trains be endangered either in attempting to transport such supplies or more especially in the ordinary traffic of the road.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
May 11, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
Am sure you will excuse my suggesting that Petersburg ought to be defence. Let a stand be made here, where an army can be collected