been remiss, have brought out most of the men liable to conscription, and should have no duty to perform, except to send to the army those who arrive at the legal age of service. I recommend that the facts of the case be investigated, and that if the officers and men engaged in enrolling have finished their work, with the exception indicated, they be returned to the army, where their presence is much needed. It is evidently inexpedient to keep a larger number out of service in order to get a smaller. I would also respectfully recommend that the list of detailed men be revised, and that all details of arms-bearing men be revoked, except in cases of absolute necessity. I have myself seen numbers of men claiming to be detailed in different parts of the country who it seemed to me might well be in service. The crops are generally secured, or beyond the necessity of further labor, and I hope some of the agricultural details may be revoked. Our numbers are daily decreasing, and the time has arrived in my opinion when no man should be excused from service, except for the purpose of doing work absolutely necessary for the support of the army. If we had here a few thousand men more to hold the stronger parts of our lines where an attack is least likely to be made, it would enable us to employ with good effect our veteran troops. Without some increase of strength, I cannot see how we are to escape the natural military consequences of the enemy's numerical superiority.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
August 23, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I have received reports which have led me to believe that the General Order, Numbers 65, issued recently from the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office,* is beginning to have some effect in encouraging desertions from the enemy. I hope steps have been taken to carry into immediate execution its provisions with regard to persons claiming its protection and benefits. It is important that these persons should get home in order should be translated into German, and a considerable number of copies sent to all our armies for distribution.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Richmond, August 23, 1864.
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XXII. Captain J. A. Fuqua, of the Invalid Corps, is assigned to duty with Major General W. H. C. Whiting, Provisional Army, C. S., and will report accordingly.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
*See p. 529.