Toward remedying these evils and others connected with them, I some time since submitted a paper furnished me by Major Paxton, quartermaster to Jenkins' cavalry brigade, for General Lee's information, Major Paxton having had considerable exxperience with horses, and being extensively acquainted with the resources of those portions of Virginia where worn- down horses can be best recruited. There are theree main ideas in the plan proposed, viz:
First. The establishment of a sort of general horse district in the counties of Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Partick, Franklin, Campbell, and Bedford, with depots, stables, &c., under the care of a reponsible superintendent, who should select his own agents, and have the care of all horses for this army to be resuscitated, &c.
Second. The procurement from time to time, by this same officer or others in connection with his charge, of anumber of fresh horses, to be taken to the depots in said district and kept with those renovated, for transfer when neede to the field.
Third. The establishment of suitable places of accommodation for horses removed to and from this distict and the army, so as to insure their being suitably provided for in transit.
Out of this plan good can be made, I am persuaded. Major Paxton would himself be a good superintenedend, and I could wish you might have him called for a brief season to Richmond, that you miht have with hi;m a full exchange of views. The district of country is full of forage, away from railroads, &c., so that it can hardly be otherwise available. Slave labor is there cheap, for attending to all the menial work. There is abundance of material for sheds, &c., and the region is eminently safe from the risk of raids, &c. Pray revolve it, consult the Quartermaster- General and any others requisite, and see if something valuable cannot be wrought out.
2. As to a supply of serviceable horses now, much exhaustion has been experienced, I am aware, but careful inquiry satisfies me that there are still horses enough for the army and for agriculture, &c., if the requisite means were adopted for getting them. Two things are necessary: First, prices proportioned to the cost of useful articles among us generally, and, second, agents interested in the cause and reliable. As to prices, much as I abominate the extortion of the times, and earnestly as I insist our State and Confederate legislatures ought to adopt measures for enforcing a scale of prices gradually descending to the ant-war standard, I am satisfied it is now wise to supply ourselves at high rate at an average of $600. I am informed some 300 horses, good for artillery, might probably be gotten in the county of Albemarle alone, but to get them, the county must be explored and purchases made by other than those ordinary agents, who either know little of the necessities of athe case or care little for meeting the emergency.
This matter of purchasing agents is, I well know, one of peculiar difficulty, and in avoiding one evil nothing is more likellu than to run into another. Still it seems to me clear that in a case so important as this, the most influential motives governing men ought to be brought into requisition. Within a few weeks we ought to have some 300 additional and fresh horses for the artillery of this army. If the officers commanding battalions be authorized to have purchased, at rates averagling about $600, the number they severally need, they superintending the operation, and their aquartermasters making the payments, I think the best sercurity will be gotten that