Rosser's brigade be sent to the valley, where they can be of eminent service, and where they can take good care of their horses.
In Butler's brigade there are two battalions--the Jeff. Davis and the Phillips Legions--each consisting of six companies. I advise that Millen's battalion of four companies from Georgia be added to the former, and that four additional companies from the same State be ordered on to join the latter, so that both can be increased to regiments. Anderson's regiment from Georgia desires to come on, and if it was ordered here a brigade could be formed for General Young. Two regiments from South Carolina could well be spared to add to Butler's brigade. There are four full regiments, numbering each from 1,000 to 1,350 men, I am told, in South Carolina, besides several independent companies and battalions. Men could be detached from these plethoric regiments to fill up the depleted companies in the First and Second South Carolina now here.
Five new companies have just been raised in my State, and they are to be disbanded, I am informed. If this is the case they might be ordered on, and the men comprising them assigned to the regiments just named. By these means, Butler's, Young's, and Gordon's could each have a full brigade ready for the spring campaign. But if the horses are kept here this winter on short forage, these brigades will not be in condition for active service, nor will they ever be able to fill up their ranks.
If my division is disposed of for the winter as I have suggested, I respectfully ask to be transferred for the time during which my command is recruiting to Mississippi. General Johnston has done me the honor to ask that I might be sent there, and it would give me great pleasure to join him. I hope that my acquaintance with that country would enable me to be of service there, and I could thsu be on active duty while my command was recruiting.
I am, very respectfully, yours,
HDQRS. ARTILLERY CORPS, A. N. VA., Numbers --.
December 7, 1863.
Major John Page and Lieuts. George W. Peterkin and E. P. Dandridge are hereby detailed on special duty of examining into and reporting upon the forage facilities in the district of country between the Virginia Central Railroad and James River, for a short distance west of Charlottesville to a line not far east of Beaver Dam Depot; Major Page to examine the district east of a line joining Louisa Court-House and Goochland Court-House, and to extend his inquiries into a corresponding district north of the Virginia Central Railroad; Lieutenant Dandridge to explore the region between the line bounding Major Page's district and a line joining Lindsay's Turnout and Columbia, and Major Wolffe to examine the country indicated west of Lieutenant Dandridge's line, the object of this examination being to provide support for our army animals during the winter.
The officers thus detailed will include in their inquiries all questions pertaining to that object, the supply of straw as well as corn, oats, hay, and fodder, and the number and kind of mills for grinding grain to be used as chop feed; also good camping ground. It is supposed that, by availing themselves of information to be derived