War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0746 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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of June, 1862, Colonel Rhett, who was chief of staff with General Johnston, informed me that he did not desire to continue in the position. I applied to General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, for a suitable officer to fill the place, and you were ordered to report to me.

2. To this I can answer emphatically in the negative. During the eleven months you have served with this army you have always been zealous and active in the discharge of your official duties, and I have never known you to be actuated by any other motive in the performance of them than the interests of the service.

3. To the third question I reply Numbers I have served with you in Mexico and Texas, as well as in the present campaign, and have always known you to be open and straightforward in opinion and conduct.

4. When the army was in the Valley of Virginia, I was informed by the Department that a general officer could be assigned under the law as chief of staff of this army. From your past services in that department, I desired no change. Without informing you of my intention, or speaking with you upon the subject, I recommended you for the position. So far as I know, you were not aware of my action until your appointment was announced.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



[Major W. H. TAYLOR,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of Northern Virginia:]

MAJOR: I would beg leave to call the attention of the commanding general to the state of affairs that exists in the North Carolina regiments of the army, and the causes which, in my opinion, have brought it about. I think I am safe in saying that at least 200 men have deserted from the Twenty-fourth North Carolina Regiment in this corps within the last thirty days. This, sir, I fear is not the worst of it, for unless some prompt measures be taken to arrest those already deserted, and severe punishment be inflicted after they shall be caught. the matter will grow from bad to worse. In my humble opinion, the whole trouble lies in the fact that they believe when they get into North Carolina they will not be molested, and their belief is based upon the dictum of Judge [R. M.] Pearson, chief justice of the State, in a recent trial of persons who killed some militia officers while in the discharge of their duties. I have not seen the judge's proceedings in the case, but our men are of the opinion that he held that the conscript law was unconstitutional, and hence they draw the conclusion that enrolled conscripts will not only be justified in resisting the law, but that those who have been held in service by the law will not be arrested when they desert. This conclusion is borne out by the facts. I have heard from a reliable gentleman that the conscripts and deserters go unmolested in Yadkin County, North Carolina, and Sergeant Grose, of my brigade, who has just returned, was told by the militia officers of that county that they should not arrest any more deserters in the face of Judge Pearson's holding unless protected by the Government, and the boldness of the deserters there proves that they are acting up to their word. Letters are received by the men, urging them to leave; that they will not be troubled when they get home. It would strike me that the holding alluded to brings only the individual