WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., March 1, 1863.
His Excellency ZEBULON B. VANCE,
Governor of North Carolina:
SIR: I regret to learn from your letter of the 25th ultimo that such serious opposition is entertained by you to the continuance of the horses of a portion of General Jenkins' command in the western counties of North Carolina. I had commended your previous letter to the attention of the general commanding that department with the hope that the evil complained of would be inquired into, and, if found remediable, would be corrected. Doubtless it has been continued only from the necessity of the case. The truth is, that the large number of cavalry in the mountainous regions of East Tennessee and Virginia could not be subsisted there during the winter, and it was deemed imperatively necessary that most of the men should be dismounted and the horses sent to more distant regions, less exhausted by being ravaged or drained by the struggling armies, for subsistence and preparation for the approaching campaign. It was supposed, and indeed strongly represented, that the counties on the eastern slopes of the mountains in North Carolina would afford abundant supplies and early pasturage for them, and that benefit would result from sending them there, not only to the horses, but to the people around, in affording them a market for their surplus grain and forage. Only a moderate number, however, were sent there, and more were scattered about in the various more distant counties of Virginia, along the valley and mountainous districts. Complaints similar to those addressed to you have come up from various counties of this State, where they have been collected, for the products of the last season were scant almost everywhere, and some irregularities are but too apt to occur with the rather irregular and partially disciplined cavalrymen sent with the horses. But our authorities have been content with the effort to redress them by appeal to the officers or commanding generals, and no effort has been made or intimated of a purpose to expel them by force. They are, it will be recollected, not, as Your Excellency supposes, broken-down horses, nor can they be considered as Virginia cavalry, though lately engaged in that State. They are horses of the cavalry of the Confederate States, engaged for the common defense, as well for North Carolina as for every other State, and placed where they are to preserve them in a state of efficiency for our further struggles in a common cause. I trust therefore Your Excellency will forbear from any forcible expulsion of them, should their still longer stay be deemed indispensable. Your letter, however, shall be sent to the general commanding the department where these horses were sent, and his attention especially invoked to your remonstrances.
With high esteem, very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
Petersburg, Va., March 1, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Goldsborough, N. C.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 25th is this instant received. Your views are almost precisely those that I wrote you two or three days ago.