War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0638 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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There are no infantry that I am aware of in front of you this morning.

If no instructions have reached you I would, if in your place, move off to your position near the Williamsburg road.

I expect to leave here this evening about 3 o'clock.

Stuart is still in front.*

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Secretary of War:

GENERAL: Special Orders, Nos. 158 and 159, issued from the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, July 10, announce six transfers of privates in different regiments of this army, two of these being to the Signal Corps, which is already sufficiently large. By the same orders 23 privates are detailed for duty in commissary, ordnance, and medical departments, and on special duty not named. In accordance with the Regulations, applications for details, furloughs, and transfers should pass through the headquarters of this army, that I may pronounce upon their propriety. If it is the desire of the Department, however, to adopt a different rule, I would be glad to have it so stated, that no confusion may arise and I amy be relieved from the responsibility now resting on me. I fear that both officers and men are assigned to special duty on individual applications, in which the public service is not sufficiently considered. Efforts are constantly made to release men from the ranks where they are most needed. Many will be discharged on July 17 by the conscript law, and who could no doubt be employed in the different offices. I would recommend also that these be employed in the development of the niter caves, instead of making details for this purpose from the ranks under General Orders, Numbers 41, of which 20 have been requested from this army. I hope, general, you will aid me to prevent as far as possible the diminution of our ranks by these various details.

I have the honor to be, yours, with high respect,

R. E. LEE,



The details referred to were necessary, such as bakers, hospital stewards, &c., and the difficulty of communication during recent operations with the headquarters of the army prevented the usual reference. Applications for signal officers and men have been from Wilmington [and] Tennessee, which the corps is too small to meet. There will be no discharges on July 17 (see General Orders, Numbers 46), and therefore the persons required cannot be obtained from that source. The Department fully appreciates the impolicy of details, and has cut off these except in urgent cases.

G. W. R.


*Some personal matter omitted.