thought that something might be done to encourage them by offering them facilities to reach the North, and inclose the draft of an order, the substance of which it might be well to publish and circulate among them if practicable, should it meet the approval of the Department. It would do no harm in my judgment, and might have a good effect.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE, July 22, 1864.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
H. L. CLAY,
JULY 25, 1864.
Respectfully submitted to the President.
I see less objection to the order proposed by General Lee than to that of which you spoke this morning, recommended by General Beauregard. Still some embarrassments will attend the redemption of the promise, and I prefer submitting it to your judgment before ordering its issue.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
AUGUST 9, 1864.
SECRETARY OF WAR:
There are certainly objections to allowing deserters from the enemy to go at large in our country, but by close inquiry and strict surveillance they may be overcome, and it is probably better to make the attempt, the effect of which is to be inferred from the reported efforts of the enemy to impress their soldiers with the belief that they will be cruelly treated by us if under any circumstances they should fall into our hands. There is a serious difficulty which does not appear to have been considered, that of the treatment of slaves who might desert from the enemy and claim to be entitled by promise to be sent to the border, &c. Thus we could not entertain the proposition and should not be placed in the attitude of having made the promise. You will observe the notes inclosed suggesting change in the terms of the proposed order.
AUGUST 11, 1864.
For letter to General Lee with modified order.
J. A. S.,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA, In the Field, Va., July 5, 1864.
It having been falsely circulated among the insurgent soldiers that all refugees and deserters into our lines are forced into the armies of the United States to fight their former neighbors and friends, the following