of Mr. McHenry as ordnance officer on my staff, he being an officer of merit and aide-de-camp to the late Brigadier General C. S. Winder. Some three weeks since, General Lee sent me over 300 paroled prisoners (Confederate), to be kept in camp until exchanged, and as it required an officer of experience to keep them from wandering off, I detained First Lieutenant Wilson C. Nicholas for that purpose, thinking he had a commission. He has taken remarkably good care of them, but the other day I received Special Orders, No. 232, stating his resignation as drill-master had been accepted. I earnestly recommenced he many be again appointed to that or some other position in the Provisional Army - first lieutenant or captain.
There are now few stragglers to be found here, but I fear there may be numbers who have wandered off hundreds of miles from this, hiding at different farm houses or in small towns. Could not a law be passed prohibiting citizens from harboring men belonging to the army, or they be called upon to give information as to soldiers in their houses, &c.? The soldiers passing through seem to be in fine spirits. I would respectfully suggest the strictest orders be given to officers leaving Richmond with detachments of recruits, convalescents, &c., to account properly for all their men, and keep them from straggling; also that convalescents be not sent from the hospitals too soon, and put on the march, but placed for a few days in camp or barracks and drilled at least three times a day. This would make them stand the march better.
Seven thousand pounds of bread are baked here every day, more than enough for the sick, and, were it possible, more ovens would be built.
Too great care cannot be taken by provost-marshals and others to prevent soldiers from passing through who have not proper authority to leave their regiments. I feel convinced there are now thousands of soldiers and many officers absent without leave. Three weeks' experience here have enabled me to find out that one cannot be too particular. Could not a condensed copy of the regulations be published for the use of company officers? It is greatly needed.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. STEUART,
OCTOBER 21, 1862.
Inform him that after the first election in the Maryland troops, like others, the promotion will be by seniority, unless a board pronounces the next officer incompetent. A battalion of six companies has a lieutenant-colonel and major; a battalion of five or less has a major only. A quartermaster is allowed, who acts also as commissary. The adjutant is detailed from the subaltern officers.
G. W. R.
RICHMOND, VA., October 14, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
(Care General Jones,), Winchester, VA.:
The Kanawha Valley is again threatened by the enemy. Is it not better to help Loring there? The loss of it many bring the enemy upon our railroad communications and salt works.
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.