reduced in number by details for special duty with the assistant commissaries and quartermasters, who gather around them their friends and relatives, in order to keep them out of the army. A case has been reported to me of one captain and assistant commissary of subsistence, near Danville, who has 13 able-bodied conscripts in his employment, and I heard of others who have still more.
I would respectfully submit to Your Excellency whether, in the arrangements necessary under the late proclamation, something may not be done to remedy the defect of the former conscription, or whether an examination of former exemptions, and some diminution of the great number of details made from among the conscripts, might not materially promote the increase of the army.
There are many thousand men improperly absent from this army.
I have caused to-day an appeal to be made to them to return at once to duty, I do not know whether it will have much effect, unless accompanied by the declaration of an amnesty. I doubted the policy of this, but I would respectfully submit that perhaps a general amnesty declared by Your Excellency might bring many delinquents back to the different armies of the Confederacy.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, July 27, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding &c., Culpeper, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 24th instant has been received, and submitted to the President and Secretary of War.
General Samuel Jones had been previously ordered to report to you with a force of 3, 000 men, but on account of movements in Southwestern Virginia it was found impossible to separate him from his command; nor was it deemed prudent to send more troops to you, from that quarter, than those which composed the command of Colonel Wharton, which command can be retained by you for the present, or until its return is absolutely required. Whatever force can possibly be spared from this quarter will be sent to you, but I can give you no encouragement to expect at present any increase beyond the return of convalescents and absentees, for which purpose every effort is now being made to hasten them forward.
Very respectfully, & c.,
Adjutant and Inspector general.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, July 27, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: I received yesterday your note of the 21st instant. The last order I received from Richmond was from the President himself, and it directed me to remain in this department. I cannot, therefore, leave it and go to the Valley without an order to that effect, nor can I at present send any of my troops out of the department. If
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