draw your guns just when they are becoming effective. It is glorious to lose guns by fighting them to the last; it is disgraceful to save them by retiring early from the fight.
The cavalry constitute the eyes and ears of the army. The safety of the entire command depends upon their vigilance and the faithfulness of their reports. The officers and men who permit themselves to be surprised deserve to die, and the commanding general will spare no efforts to secure them their deserters. Almost equally criminal are the scouts two through fright bring in wild and sensational reports. They will be court-martialed for cowardice. Many opportunities will be afforded to the cavalry to harass the enemy, cut off his supplies, drive in his pickets, &c. Those who have never been in battle will thus be enabled to enjoy the novel sensation of listening to the sound of hostile shot and shell, and those who have listened a great way off will be allowed to come some miles nearer, and compare the sensation caused by the distant cannonade with that produced by the rattle of musketry.
D. H. HILL,
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Raleigh, N. C., February 25, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I had the honor some three weeks or a month ago to address you respectfully, asking the removal of a lot of broken-down cavalry horses from the northwestern counties of this State, of General Jenkins' command, which were devouring the substance of a people threatened with famine. I have not had the pleasure of receiving a reply to that letter. I beg leave to inform you that their depredations are still continued and that they have become not only a nuisance but a terror to the community, and to inclose you a letter* from Colonel Forkner, of Seventy-third North Carolina Militia, giving evidence of their behavior. With every possible disposition to aid in the support of the army, I have the strongest reasons conceivable - the existence of my own people - for declining to permit those horses to remain in that section of the State. When the question of starvation is narrowed down to women and children on the one side and some worthless cavalry horses on the other I can have no difficulty in making a choice. Unless they are removed soon I shall be under the painful necessity of calling out the militia of adjoining counties and driving them from the State. I hope, however, to be spared such a proceeding.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE.
RICHMOND, VA., February 25, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET,
You are, by special orders, this day assigned to the command of the department recently made vacant by the resignation of Major General G. W. Smith.
Adjutant and Inspector General.