officers to retain their men is strengthened by the disapproval of their subordinates, and induces their ready concurrence. When, finally, it comes to yourself as commander, your judgment can scarcely fail to be affected by this general concurrence of adverse opinions. This repugnance of allow details has been probably enhanced by the practice, which I understand was in the past frequent with the Department, of making such without consultation with the officers. There may be also the impression that these applications, when presented, are forwarded by the Department as a matter of course, without discrimination as to their character or propriety. Now, this would be a serious mistake. Such applications are not transmitted incautiously, but are sent by me reluctantly and stintingly, and only when, on large considerations of public interest, the requirements of the general service, in my judgment, demand them. I have preferred, instead of exercising the privilege of the Department to order such details, to submit them in the first instance to the consideration of the military authorities in the field. This course I wish to continue, and feel satisfied that, on this frank exposition of the course and views of the Department, its judgment will hereafter have more consideration and deference on the part of the officers. I therefore invite the attention of yourself, and, through you, as far as you may deem necessary, of your subordinate officers, to this explanation, and request that only strong controlling considerations of a military character shall induce a disapproval of these applications.
I inclose an application of Colonel Wadley,* the agent for railroad transportation, for the detail of a few men of special skill and experience in their vocations, whose places cannot otherwise be filled, and at the same time, in illustration of the importance of such detail, a copy of a letter* just received from him in relation to his difficulties from the denial of details in effecting the transportation essential to the support of your own army.
With high esteem, most respectfully, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
RALEIGH, N. C., February 6, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: Every day's experience confirms me stronger in the belief that, under existing circumstances, I can do but little toward expediting Government transportation, and I see no way that I can better the condition of things.
Last week I made arrangements for a certain number of cars to remain at Goldsborough, all ready for engines to be attached to them, and subject to the call of General [G. W.] Smith at any moment. Within the last two days I have understood that not the first thing has been done toward carrying out this arrangement. Yesterday I received dispatches from Richmond, asking for cars to transport guns and ammunition. I at once gave the necessary instructions to have them sent, but it appears they have not gone, as I now have a dispatch asking again for them, and saying if the cars are not sent the Secretary of War will press wood flats, which, if done, will leave the road without wood for trains, and that consequently they must stop.