ject of light artillery camps and injury to crops, with a view to correcting evils complained of in your letter, and Major Cole, inspector of transportation, has been directed to look to the trains and their proper location. I believe I have covered the different points of your letter.
I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, July 15, 1862.
Brigadier General PAUL J. SEMMES,
GENERAL: Your letter* of this date has been received, and the commanding general directs me to say that the subject of the numerous desertions and stragglings from the army has been the source of grave consideration. He can see no means [of] correcting the evil unless the immediate commanders of regiments and brigades display proper energy in keeping their commands together. Orders can be of no avail unless those who are intrusted with their execution see them faithfully enforced. Examples should be made of the delinquents, but they can only be reached through their immediate commanders. In regard to your particular brigade, Major-General McLaws says the original brigade was turned over to General Semmes, numbering about 2,416 aggregate present and 529 absent. Since then he has received Thirty-second Virginia Regiment, absentees from which are 216; total number of absentees 905. General Semmes states that he now has 1,600 absent. He is therefore responsible for about 700 absentees. General Winder has received orders to arrest all deserters and absentees without authority from the army, and to cause them to be reported to the commands to which they belong. It is the duty of their immediate commanding officers to hold them to a strict account for their delinquencies.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. L. LONG,
Colonel and Military Secretary.
JULY 15, 1862.
General S. G. FRENCH:
Come to Petersburg immediately and assume command of the department.
TH. H. HOLMES.
HEADQUARTERS, Falling Creek, Va., July 16, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: As there is a very impression among the people that I deserted Norfolk, and gentlemen who have traveled in the cars mention the they hear me thus spoken of continually, it seems to me, as nobody else will arrest the error, it is due to me that I should be allowed to publish the orders under which I acted.