[Indorsement on Polk's copy.]
Demopolis, March 1, 1864.
This communication was addressed to the Department as it will be seen, some time since, and it is supposed, as no answer has been returned, the pressure of business has prevented it. It is now brought again to attention, with the respectful request that the facilities for increasing the forces of the department asked for be granted.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
[JANUARY 9, 1864.- For G. W. C. Lee to Polk, about plan for capture of New Orleans, see Vol. XXXIV.]
[JANUARY 9, 1864.- For Seddon to Maury, in reference to Clanton's brigade, see Vol. XXVI, Part II, p. 550.]
HEADQUARTERS, January 10, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 9th instant in reference to the request of General Longstreet to be relieved from his present to the request of General Longstreet to be relieved from his present command and of his corps. I do not the reasons that have indeed him to take this step, but hope they
are not such as to make it necessary. I do not know any one to take his place in either position. I do not think it advantageous that he and Lieutenant-General Ewell should exchange corps, believing that each corps would be more effective as at present organized. I cannot, therefore, recommend their exchange.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Russellville, E. Tenn., January 10, 1864.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: I have been trying to work out some plan by which we may be begin operations before the enemy, and at lest disconcert his plans. I do not think we can do anything here or at Chattanooga. I have concluded there is no other opportunity but in Virginia. If we could leave our cavalry here to destroy the railroad and take our infantry to Virginia, it seems to me that we might, by using the turnpike roads, throw our forces behind General Meade me catch him in the mud, and either push on and get Washington or fight him to greater advantage than we can have anywhere else; or you might make arrangements to mount a corps, for locomotion, and throw it with your cavalry behind Meade, and let it push on and get Washington. These plans cannot be well digested, as I have no information as to the difficulties, &c.
If the plain to mount a corps is thought practicable we should take every precaution to prevent its being known or suspected and I