War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0853 Chapter XXXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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Major Collins has been ordered to communicate with you and give you all information.

If you learn that the enemy has retired and is beyond your grasp, I desire you to return to your position. If they come within your reach, and you can do so with advantage, strike at them.

General Wise reports West Point evacuated.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

June 3, 1863.

Lieutenant-General LONGSTREET,

Commanding First Army Corps:

GENERAL: My attention has been called to the following indorsement of General McLaws upon a communication of certain officers of the Seventh South Carolina Regiment, protesting against the payment of damages:

Being under the impression that no one could be deprived of his life, liberty, or property unless by due process of law, and that an opportunity should be given every one to be tried before condemnation, I have, previous to this, applied for information as to the law authorizing a departure from those principles heretofore considered so well established, but no answer having been received, I respectfully recommend that, to test the principle and give it publicity, the officers be tried by a general court-martial for disobedience of orders in refusing to pay the assessment within.

It was not my intention to order officers to pay damages, but merely to notify them of the amounts charged against them, with a view of affording them an opportunity to pay them before complying with the requirements of the orders of the War Department. See General Orders, Numbers 39, May 26, 1862, Paragraph V, and Special Orders, Numbers 182, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, August 6, 1862.

I cannot concur in the remarks of General McLaws. It is my earnest desire that in all our operations every precaution should be taken to prevent waste and the destruction of private property.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

June 4, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to send by messenger, to-day, 7 flags of those captured from the enemy in the recent engagements on the Rappahannock. The tickets on each will show by what troops taken.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,

Dublin, June 6, 1863.

General R. E. LEE.

GENERAL: Your letters of the 1st and 3rd instant have been received. Though I have relied on the cattle brought out from Northwestern