of all outside the District of Cape Fear, or will you give an order to that effect? In either case please designate the place you prefer for headquarters.
I have heard nothing from General Ransom since you left.
Communication with me by mail at Tarborough, where a line of couriers meets the mail. By telegraph I should hear sooner from Goldsborough, unless it is just in time at Rocky Mount for the Tarborough train, at 7 o'clock in the evening.
I am, general, yours, with respect,
J. G. MARTIN,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
June 2, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States, Richmond, Va.:P
Mr. PRESIDENT: I have had the honor to receive yesterday your letter of the 31st ultimo.
I am well aware of the difficulties pressing upon all parts of the country and of your great anxiety to relieve them. The question which seems always to be presented is a wise choice of difficulties.
I think Cooke's brigade had better be halted on the Chickahominy for the present, and Davis' brigade sent forward to this place to complete Heth's division. I regret to lose Ransom and Jenkins, both good and tried officers, with veteran troops. As well as I now recollect, Pettigrew's brigade was on the line of the Blackwater when the regiments from the West were brigaded there under Pryor.
Upon the arrival of General Longstreet he made some changes, detaching Jenkins, in whom he had confidence, from Pickett's division, in order to place him in command. The Western brigade was placed subsequently under General Colston, and afterward the brigade was broken up and the regiments sent back to Generals Jones and Marshall.
I do not know the condition of the cavalry proposed by General Hill to be sent to this army. He offered a regiment and I accepted it, but if it is of the character described by you it had better be retained. I understand there is a good regiment on the blackwater as regards men and horses, but it is at present in an unfortunate condition on account of a difficulty between the colonel and officers. If that could be reconciled they would be very serviceable.
I think it would be better if General Robertson were in command of the cavalry within the State, as he is a good organizer and instructor, but General Hill does no appear to require him. I would then brigade the North Carolina regiments in this army, under Colonel Baker, from that Sate, who is said to be a good officer.
I requested to be relieved from command of the troops between the James and the Cape Fear Rivers because I did not see that I could advantageously exercise it, but on the contrary, to continue in it might be productive of harm. I could only exercise it beneficially by relying upon the judgment of General D. H. Hill, who declined to act upon discretionary orders, and I thought it best for the service to leave him to his own discretion. The only object of command, in my opinion, is the benefit of the service.
I hope the forces we can place near Richmond will be able to secure it against attack from the York or James River. The local troops of the city should be organized promptly and be kept in readiness for service at any moment. With Cooke and Wise advanced, the one to the north