U. S. service, provided they are not conscript or arrested and sent away as prisoners of war by the Confederate authorities. Such a course would decimate the Federal army in this department. In fact, I do not think that a regiment would be left in the Federal service if such a privilege was extended to them. I would urge this policy on the Government. I am personally known to the condition of affairs in this respect.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. VAUGHN,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VA. AND EAST TENN.,
October 27, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded, to know if this meets the views of the commanding general.
General Vaughn's personal knowledge of the country and people gives weight to his opinions.
JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,
OCTOBER 31, 1864.
R. E. LEE,
[OCTOBER 24, 1864. -For Beauregard to Cooper, reporting affairs in his military DIVISION, see Part I, p. 796.]
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA., INSPECTOR-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Selma, Ala., October 24, 1864.
Major General FRANK. GARDNER:
GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to state to you as follows:
There are within this department many military posts which are unimportant, and may well be dispensed with while no actual necessity exists for keeping them up; they serve only to give light employment away from their commands to officers and men who are needed in the field or where the officers and guard consist of men unfit for field service, by employing them at such posts; they are prevented from relieving those who can do duty in the field, and are detailed in the various department, &c. It is therefore determined to break up all these unimportant posts, sending all officers and men employed threat, who are fit for field duty and not required to fill the places of able-bodied detailed soldiers, to their commands, establishing at central and important points military posts under proper commanders, with suitable and efficient guards selected, if possible, from those who, although disabled and not qualified for the exposure, of field service, are reported by medical examining boards as fit for post duty. The number of posts within this department is very large, certainly exceedingly FIFTY, at points where the necessity for such establishments by no means exists. Post commanders, adjutants, officers of guards, passport officers, guards, &c., are to be found where their duties are only nominal. Be-