of the army is suffering from our present scarcity of supplies, and am sure that you will agree with me in the opinion that there is no sacrifice too great to preserve its efficiency.
I had the honor to suggest to you that meat, and perhaps other articles of necessity, could be obtained by offering cotton and tobacco in exchange for them. This is, I believe, especially true of the border counties of the State. Those people have no currency, and can only supply their necessities by barter. They will not receive Confederate money, because they can do nothing with it, and it is idle to attempt to get their produce from them by impressment; but I feel confident that they would cheerfully bring forward whatever they have in exchange for cotton and tobacco, particularly the former.
They stand in great need of it for making clothing, and it would also serve as a means for buying what they do not make. I do not consider the objection that some of this cotton would find its way to the enemy as worthy of being weighed against the benefits that we would drive from adequate supplies of articles of prime necessity to the Army, for it is the latter we should now be satisfied is our only dependence. A letter recently received from a gentleman in the lower valley, who has our success much at heart, gives assurance that the experiment will succeed there. He represents the want of cotton yarns as very urgent, and says that if the Government will send 100,000 pounds of those yarns to New Market they can readily be exchanged at the rate of 1 pound of cotton for 2 of cured bacon. He says that the supplies of that region are now finding their way to the enemy in exchange for what the people absolutely require and have no other means of purchasing. Interest and their own inclinations will induce them to trade more readily with us, and he thinks the moral effect would be good. His suggestions do not purport to be theoretical, but to be the result of observation of the wants of his neighbors, who appear to need cotton as much as we do meat.
I respectfully ask that the experiment be made to the extent above mentioned, and we will then be able to form a better opinion of the merits of the plan, and can extend it or put an end to it, as circumstances may direct.
I shall be very glad to have your views on the subject, as something must be done, and I can suggest no better plan.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, VA., February 16, 1864.
Major General R. E. RODES, Hanover Junction:
Battle's brigade goes by Fredericksburg railroad to Hanover Junction. Central road unable at present to furnish transportation to Orange. Superintendent Whitcomb will communicate with you.
A. R. LAWTON,
[Numbers 35.]-JOINT RESOLUTION of thanks to the Fifteenth and Twenty-seventh Regiments of North Carolina Troops, Cooke's brigade.
Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the re-enlistment of the Fifteenth and Twenty-seventh Regiments