been guilty of improper conduct, such offenders have, on due notice, always been brought to justice. It seems hardly reasonable that the reputation of a whole command should suffer on account of the offenses of a few members, removed from the eye of its commander, when the offenses are not reported and no opportunity is afforded him to render justice. It was from no desire to impeach the loyalty of the citizens of North Carolina that it was stated they would not receive Confederate money, but frequent instances which have occurred seem to indicate that the dissatisfaction arose not so much from scarcity of corn as an unwillingness to receive the only money which our agents had to offer. I will mention two, reported by Captain [W. W.] Parsons, of the Seventeenth Regiment Virginia Cavalry: Two farmers on the Yadkin, in Davies County, had each from 500 to 1,000 bushels of corn, which they were offering for sale, but refused it to our agents because they could pay neither gold or silver nor North Carolina money, and the same officer stated that if he had had gold and silver he could have bought as much corn as he wanted.
It is recommended that the horses be removed from North Carolina to some portion of your department. South of the railroad there are already as many of our horses as can be barely subsisted. In this county the horses of officers and those used for transportation are at this time receiving only half rations of corn and no hay, using straw instead. In Botetourt the Government requires all surplus forage to be reserved for the use of the iron-works. In Rockbridge we already have the horses of six companies, and I understand that General Stuart has sent thither three regiments of his command to remain for some time. In Craig we have the horses of two companies living on hay alone for the last three weeks, besides many of the transportation horses of this command and a large number under charge of Major McMahon, quartermaster. Even hay is become very scarce there and almost impossible to procure. The counties north
of the last mentioned were, you are aware, overrun by the enemy, and on account of this and the unfavorable season the corn crop was very light and very little grass was cut.
Another fact of great importance is that there is not enough forage between this point and our horses in North Carolina (from 100 to 300 miles) to subsist them on their route hither, and they cannot consequently be moved until grass begins to afford pasturage. This is the information we receive from our agents. But even if they could be subsisted on their way hither they would still have to be subsisted on grain here until grass season or perish.
The above report includes, I believe, every fact of importance desired by you, and I leave the whole subject for your determination, awaiting such orders as you may think best to give, stating merely that I am willing to move the horses at the earliest period when the grass will afford them subsistence - probably about May 1.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. FRENCH,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, Va., April 6, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded through the Adjutant and Inspector General to the Secretary of War. Colonel French's views in regard to moving