HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
March 2, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I inclose for your information an order,* issued on the 15th ultimo, organizing the artillery of this army into battalions. I assigned to their command such field officers as were available.
I now wish to propose to you certain promotions which I think have been earned by the officers named, and which will give 2 field officers to each battalion. No class of officers in the army has learned faster or served better than the artillery. The recommendations made are, as far as I am able to judge, in accordance with the merits of officers, the wishes of General Pendleton, and of General Longstreet and Jackson, and their chief artillery officers. You will perceive there is a vacancy left unfilled in the battalion of Washington Artillery. It is because General Longstreet prefers waiting for the return of Colonel Walton, whom he considered better acquainted with the merits of his officers than himself. Colonel Walton is in Louisiana, collecting recruits for his battalion.
The batteries, as at present arranged, furnish two hundred and sixty-four guns for service with this army. The law (Act Numbers 39, approved January 22, 1862) authorizes field officers in the proportion of a major for every sixteen guns; a lieutenant-colonel for twenty-four guns, and a colonel for every forty guns. This would permit 6 colonels, 11 lieutenant-colonels, and 16 majors. By reference to the tabular form showing the organization of the battalions, with the field officers proposed, you will observe 5 colonels assigned to them, which, with Colonel Crutchfield, chief of artillery with General Jackson, makes 6. There are also 6 lieutenant-colonels named in the table. Lieutenant Colonel Coleman, dangerously wounded, is now absent, and Major Pelham, whom I recommend for promotion to lieutenant-colonel, to serve with the flying artillery attached to the cavalry, consisting of five batteries not included with those in the battalions now under consideration, will make 8. Of majors there are 15, exclusive of 2 acting as lieutenant-colonels, about the promotion of whom I am not quite satisfied.
The proportion between the number of proposed field officers belonging to Virginia and these from other States is very nearly right. Of the whole number of batteries, thirty-five are from Virginia and twenty-four from other States. Of the 31 officers, Virginia's proportion would be 19, and the other States 12. There will be 19 from Virginia and 12 from the other States. Lieutenant-Colonel Coleman, from Virginia, I fear will never be fit for duty in the field again, making 18 from Virginia for duty.
To increase the efficiency of the artillery as much as possible, a supply of suitable guns will be required for the opening of the spring campaign.
To replace the 6-pounder smooth-bores with Napoleons, which I am trying do, will require seventy Napoleons in addition to those we now have.
I would be greatly obliged to Your Excellency if you could accelerate their manufacture.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
*General Orders, Numbers 20, p. 625.