HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Lewisburg, via Union, August 14, 1863.
I expect to be Huntersville day after-to-morrow, and will remain there two or there days. Would like very much to meet you somewhere, but as I do not know where you are, I cannot designate place of meeting. Communicate with me if you can before I leave Hunterville.
HEASDQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Orange Court-House, August 15, 1863.
General S. COOPER:
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: Lists of absentees without leave from this army, arranged separately, according to the county or congressional district in which the men are supposed to be, have been called for, and are being forwarded to the Bureau of Conscription, with the request that the commandants of conscripts in the several States be instructed to cause efforts to be made to arrest these men, and return them to their commands.* I deem it expedient to make every exertion to increase the effective strength of this army, and respectfully request that the department will call the attention of the Superintedent of the Bureu of Conscription to the importance of the earnest co-operation of the enrolling officers in causing to return to duty the number of soldiers wandering at large through the country, who should be with their commands in the field.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
August 15, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Sdjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:
GENERAL: I am satisfied, from the habits of our soldiers, that the stragglers, the disaffected, and the sick who wander away from the army a great many arms and accouterments along the different lines of travel in the country. I would, therefore, respectfully suggest that the enrolling officers be instructed to cause vigorous search to be made in their respective districts to collect these arms, and forward them to the Ordnance Department at Richmond. From what I can learn, I think a considerable number of arms may be obtained in this way.
I am with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
*See Preston to Cooper, August 20.