War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 1182 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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NEW MARKET, August 15, 1864.

(Received 2 p. m.)


All the artillery at this point, including that sent down by you, has been placed by General Field in command of Colonel Carter. I considered in this case that we had nothing more to do with the operation here, and ordered Major Taylor back to take charge at the bluff while I remained merely as a looker-on. I have no authority here to interfere with the artillery in any way. Colonel Carter permitted the mortar detachments to return to camp. He also sent the 20-pounder Parrotts back where they came from. It is useless for Major Taylor to return here, as he will not be allowed to exercise any command. The howitzers, I fear, are gone. It is thought that the enemy carried them off last night. The 10-pounder Parrotts are here and under command of Colonel Carter. As you seem to have sent the order for my return to the Bluff under a misapprehension I will wait for an answer to this before returning. I would like to remain a day or two to see the result of operations here.



NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., August 16, 1864-8 a. m.

General R. E. LEE,

Chaffin's Bluff, North Side of James River:

All quiet yesterday and last night. Scouts report Second Corps marched with five day's rations; expedition must then be only a diversion to prevent Early being re-enforced.



Richmond, Va., August 17, 1864.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 14th instant, and hear with regret of the increased tendency of desertion manifested by a portion of your army. I can well understand the discomfort and suffering which troops in this weather must suffer in the trenches, and I fear with you that the patriotism and self-denial of our soldiers may not always be proof against the temptations offered by the Washington authorities. I have received your recommendation of an order, which should operate per contra, as an inducement to the soldiers of the enemy to desert, and after conferring with the President and slightly modifying it, to conform to the suggestions made by him, I had directed it to be issued and sent to you. I hope it will operate advantageously to our cause. One of the particular causes mentioned by you as tending to promote desertion has, I am sure, no just foundation, unless misapprehension prevails among our troops.

Since receiving your remonstrance against the issue of authorities to raise new companies, and your exposition of the mischiefs resulting, finding your confirmed by inquiries which I caused to be made in