War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 1258 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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brigade of cavalry as soon as I can discover the intentions of General Grant. I then think you will be able to spare Kershaw. In the meantime I wish you to defeat Sheridan if your strength is sufficient. He seems disposed to protect himself under his intrenchments. If you could draw him up the Valley and fall upon him suddenly, or throw a body of troops behind him, you might succeed in defeating him. If you think it best for you to remain on the defensive and can spare Kershaw, send him to me as secretly as you can, for I will then take the offensive myself. If you retain Kershaw, hold him in readiness to send to me at a moment's notice, and keep his division in as efficient condition as possible.

Wishing you success, I remain, very truly,

R. E. LEE,

General.

RICHMOND, VA., September 18, 1864.

Honorable HERSCHEL V. JOHNSON:

MY DEAR SIR: In regard to the law and regulations relating to foreign commerce I perceive by your reply that my explanation must have been very imperfect, else you would have seen that, in so far as charters of vessels had been made at a previous date, they were excepted from the operation of the regulations, but only in relation to those chartered after the passage of the law and the promulgation of the regulations had any question been raised. The veto message was intended to show the impolicy of yielding to an attempt to use the States to evade the law and defeat the purpose of Congress. My objections were sustained by such a majority as relieves me from the supposed want of deference to the legislative will. The clamor to which you allude was not to be silenced by concession, as has been abundantly proved by experiment, but if it had been otherwise the case was one involving the public interest, which could not be bartered away. you are, no doubt, right in your conclusion that General Johnston was not relived soon enough, but the judgment is sustained upon evidence which was not possessed before the event. I did not anticipate the abandonment of the mountain region of Georgia, and if General Johnston had informed me that he would retreat to Atlanta, he would have been sooner relieved, as it was my opinion then, as clearly as now, that Atlanta could be best defended by holding some of the strong positions to the north of it. You ask me to resolve "that General Hood shall succeed," and for this purpose give the means, even if other points "are uncovered temporarily." All that was done for General Johnston when he was at Dalton. Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, Mississippi, and North Alabama were stripped to give him a force which would insure success so speedily that the troops could return to these places in time to prevent disaster. The resolution did not bring success, but results have followed.

The concentration referred to had, I suppose, attracted your attention, as I perceive, in suggesting further action of like kind, you look to Virginia and ask if Early and Breckinridge cannot be sent to Georgia, your supposition being that they would do more good in Sherman's rear than by raiding in Pennsylvania. Not long after Congress left Richmond the enemy advanced into the Valley of the Shenandoah, defeated the small force we had there, and moved to the execution of a plan which was to destroy all communications with Richmond, as well