from General Hill. Please send your orders to this place, so that the troops may be moved in conformity to your wishes.
By the proposed arrangement you will have lost, without receiving anything in exchange, the brigade of Evans', as, being able to get no trace of the troops for which Jenkins' brigade was reported to have been exchanged, I can only wonder as to what constituted the command on the Blackwater before the troops from Western Virginia went there. From the account which General Hill gave of a part of his cavalry, I do not think you would be benefitted by receiving that which he proposes to send you. He asked for and received conditional authority to dismount a portion of that force.
I note your request to be relieved of the command of the troops between the James River and the Cape Fear. This is one of the few instances in which I have found my thoughts running in the opposite direction from your own. It has several times occurred to me that it would be better for you to control all the operations of the Atlantic slope, and I must ask you to reconsider the matter. I wish I knew how to relieve you from all anxiety concerning movements on the york or James River against Richmond while you are moving toward the north and west; but even if you could spare troops for the purpose, on whom could you devolve the command with that feeling of security which would be necessary for the full execution of your designs? I readily perceive the disadvantage of standing still, and sorely regret that I cannot give you the means which would make it quite safe to attempt all that we desire. That any advantage should have been lost by delay is sad enough where the contest at best was so very unequal as to give little room for the exercise of what General Charles Lee called "that rascally virtue," prudence. I do not know what success we shall have in organizations for local defense, but should it be all that I can hope you know how far our army will still fall short of the numerical strength of the enemy. Missouri, Kentucky, the most populous portions of Tennessee and Louisiana, are contributing nothing to recruit our army. If General Kirby Smith should have success on the west side of the river he will soon have a large force by volunteers from Missouri and Southern Louisiana. General Johnston did not, as you thought advisable, attack Grant promptly, and I fear the result is that which you anticipated if time was given. The last intelligence indicates that Grant's army is concentrating on the Yazoo, where he connects with his gunboats and river transportation and threatens the line of communication between Jackson and Vicksburg. The position, naturally strong, may soon be intrenched, and, with the heavy guns which he can bring by water, will require to be reduced by some other means than a direct attack. It is useless to look back, and it would be unkind to annoy you in the midst of your many cares with the reflections which I have not been able to avoid. All the accounts we have of Pemberton's conduct fully sustain the good opinion heretofore entertained of him, and I hope has secured for him that confidence of his troops which is so essential to success.
Very respectfully, and truly, your friend,
RICHMOND, May 341, 1863.
General D. H. HILL,
Commanding Department of North Carolina, Petersburg, Va.:
GENERAL: I have received your dispatch and letter both, dated 30th instant. It has been determined that Major-General Ransom be put in command of the district of your department which includes the Appo-