GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS HILL'S CORPS,
Numbers 43. August 17, 1863.
The lieutenant-general commanding earnestly invites the officers and men of his corps to a general and devout observance of the day of fasting and prayer appointed by the President for the people of the Confederate States.
In the long round of marches, battles, privations, stern labors of the camp and field, through which the soldiers of the Confederacy must pass, it is well that we should occasionally pause and give one day to reflection, to self-examination, to a review of the past and a serious consideration of the duties which await us.
More than two years ago we took up arms for the sacred cause, in support of which we still confront the enemy. God has wonderfully blessed us. In the face of superior numbers and boundless resources, in defiance of difficulties which can only be revealed by history, victory has time after time, with more than usual constancy, perched upon our banners. Soldiers! in thirty months you, with your comrades on distant fields, have shattered the great armies raised for your subjugation wherever you have encountered them in pitched battle. You have vindicated your country's right to a place among the nations of the earth. You have won for yourselves imperishable honor, and developed military genius before which even your enemies bow down in admiration. Well, then, may you look back with patriotic pride and gratitude to God! How shall it be with the future? Can it be doubtful? Is our cause less just? Is the State less precious? Are our hearts less determined? Have we forgotten the battle cry of Manassas, of Shiloh, of Richmond, of Murfreesborough-victory or death!
Upon that solemn day which we are about to dedicate to God and our country, let each patriot mourn the sins which have brought disaster upon us. Let us renew the pure vows of constancy and devotion with which he drew his sword, and the issue may be safely confided to the trial of arms. With hearts thus chastened the defenders of Christian homes, of civil and religious liberty, of all that is beautiful and pure, and of good report, may fitly invoke the God of Battles, the God of Truth and Justice. The lieutenant-general commanding doubts not these sentiments will meet with ready response in the breasts of his soldiers.
It is therefore ordered that all military exercises and all work not absolutely necessary be suspended on Friday, the 21st instant, and that every encouragement be offered to the troops to attend divine service, and to humble themselves in prayer and supplication to the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, that He would succor our beloved country and defeat the machinations of our enemies.
By command of Lieutenant General D. H. Hill:
WAR DEPARTMENT, ENGINEER BUREAU,
Richmond, August 18, 1863.
General J. E. JOHNSTON,
Commanding Western Department, Enterprise, Miss.:
GENERAL: To keep in repair the main lines of railroad essential to the support and transportation of our armies, iron rails and rolling-