The deserters usually go in squads, taking their arms and equipments, and sometimes borrow from their comrades ammunition sufficient to make 100 rounds per man. I think it probable that they pass themselves off as guards or patrols in search of deserters.
I need not enlarge upon the extent to which this evil will grow if not at once stopped. I hope that you will represent the matter to His Excellency the Governor of North Carolina, so as to induce him to take active measures in the case, and to enlist all the good men in the State to reprobate an discountenance it. I must also request that you do everything in your power to remedy the evil.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
P. S.-I forward descriptive lists of some of the deserters, which, if transmitted to the Governor or chief enrolling officer, might lead to their apprehension.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
May 21, 1863.
Major General SAMUEL JONES,
Commanding Department, &c.:
GENERAL: General Lee directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, and to say, in reply to that portion of it which relates to the Fiftieth Virginia Regiment, that he does not see how he can spare it until the two given to General Imboden in exchange for it are returned to this army. General Imboden is now near you; after his return to the Valley, and when the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Virginia Regiments are sent back to their former commands, then the Fiftieth can rejoin you.
This was the general's understanding of the arrangement at the time it was made.
It is ascertained from reports that every available man is being sent to strengthen General Hooker, and it is the opinion of General Lee that there is no point in the country where we stand in greater need of troops than here.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. TAYLOR,
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
May 21, 1863.
I. Brigade inspectors in this army are for the present abolished. Those acting in that capacity will be returned to duty with their respective commands, and all public animals in their possession will be turned int o the quartermaster's department. Brigade commanders, assisted by their staff, will make such critical and frequent inspections of their commands as will enable them to discover and correct all deficiencies, and will devote their best energies to secure efficiency in their troops, and to promote their instruction, health, and comfort. They will send in, through division inspectors, tri-monthly reports of their inspections, according to the usual forms, for the information of the commanding general.