General Longstreet so urgent, that I can no longer hesitate. General Drayton's brigade has been a source of delay and embarrassment from the time the army left Richmond. At Manassas it could not be got into the battle. At South Mountain and Sharpsburg it broke to pieces. I do not mean to charge this as the fault of General Drayton; but, in addition, he does not seem able to keep up the organization of his brigade. The colonels of his regiments are absent and he cannot keep his staff together; so it is reported by General Longstreet. He is a gentleman, and in his own person a soldier, but seems to lack the capacity to command. His brigade has been changed from one division to another more than once. At one time he was under General D. R. Jones, from whom I received frequent complaints. Then I placed it under General McLaws, who says it cannot operate as at present organized. General Longstreet says the service of the brigade as it now stands is lost to the army. I am compelled, therefore, to make a change, and wish to do it in the manner least disagreeable to General Drayton, for whom I feel great friendship. The brigade is composed partly of Georgia and partly of South Carolina troops. I propose to assign the regiments to brigades composed of troops from the respective States of each, and give General Drayton leave of absence for thirty days, at the end of which I hope some duty may be found for him in the South or Southwest, which he may be able to perform with advantage to the service.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, November 25, 1862.
Hon. SECRETARY OF WAR,
SIR: In carrying out the policy of the Government of brigading the troops according to the States from which they some, I have found it necessary to dismember the brigade commanded by Brigadier General Thomas F. Drayton, which is composed of troops from the State of South Carolina and Georgia. I have no other command to which I can assign General Drayton in this army,and have therefore, taken advantage of this opportunity to grant him a short leave of absence, which he has desired, at the end of which I request he may be ordered on duty in the South or Southwest, as he may prefer.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully,&c.,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Near Fredericksburg,
Va., November 25, 1862.
Lieutenant General THOMAS J. JACKSON,
GENERAL: From your letter of the 21st, which, with its inclosure, I received last night,* I infer that your command is in motion up the valley. I wrote to you on the 24d instant, suggesting that you should cross the Blue Ridge, and stated my reasons for believing that, by taking