at all. They are strong regiments, well drilled and well appointed; intermixed with veteran troops, they would be efficient, and doubtless recover their proper feelings. These transfers I will endeavor to make without causing comment, if you think it expedient to make them. The co-operation of the generals commanding troops in active operations will be necessary.
I submit this subject for the consideration of yourself and the President, under the impression that a serious evil may exist. I have thought it best to communicate with you directly, because of the importance of secrecy in this case.
I am, sir, with great respect, sincerely yours,
DABNEY H. MAURY
JANUARY 8, 1864
SECRETARY OF WAR:
The proposition to exchange the new and full regiments of General Maury's command for skeleton regiments, tried and wasted in battle, is approved. Some address and caution will be required in the execution of the programme.
J. D. [DAVIS.]
HEADQUARTERS CLANTON'S BRIGADE,
Pollard, Ala., December 26, 1863.
Major General DABNEY H. MAURY,
GENERAL: I have investigated, as far as practicable at this time, the matter referred to in our conversation on yesterday, and, agreeably to you request, send you what information I have been able to obtain on the subject, which you will find embraced in the inclosed communications of Colonel Swanson and Major Cunningham.
Although I have my share of men capable of doing anything disgraceful, yet I will, without comment, and with confidence, state that I will be responsible for the loyalty and gallantry of my brigade as an organization under all circumstances.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES H. CLANTON,
[Sub-Inclosure Numbers 1.]
HEADQUARTERS FIFTY-NINTH ALABAMA REGIMENT,
Near Pollard, Ala., December 26, 1863
Brigadier General J. H. CLANTON,
GENERAL: In obedience to instructions from you, I have to make the following report as to the feeling existing in this command among the men to lay down their arms and desert their country's cause.
My information is limited, not having learned until within the past few days that such a feeling existed among our usually brave and patriotic soldiers.
I find upon investigation that there is a general disposition upon the
*See Seddon to Maury, January 9, p. 550; Maury to Seddon, January 11, p. 551; Johnston to Cooper, January 15,p. 553; Clanton to Polk, January 31, p. 553, and May 9, 1864, p. 555.