War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 1288 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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PETERSBURG, VA., September 25, 1864.

Lieutenant General R. S. EWELL,

Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: To your communication of the 22nd instant, inclosing report of an inspection of my old brigade, I desire to make a brief unofficial response. The suggestion you have made in regard to Governor Harris is much better for the brigade and for the service than anything that I have anticipated. I only apprehend that he will not accept, or that if he should do so it will be with the condition that he shall be permitted to mount his command. In the recommendation which I made my object was to do the best I could with the material at hand. On the 24th instant I addressed a communication to Major G. C. Brown, of your staff, requesting that my letter recommending Lieutenant-Colonel Snowden for brigade commander should be regarded as official and be forwarded to the Adjutant and Inspector General. I shall be entirely satisfied if you decide not to forward that communication. Colonel A. S. Marks, formerly of the Seventeenth Tennessee Regiment, and now a member of the general court-martial for Forrest's command, would be received by the brigade most favorably, if Governor Harris declines. Colonel Marks in one of the best, if not the very best, regimental commander I have ever known in the Confederate service. I should have recommended him for brigade commander had I thought that in the present reduced strength of the brigade the command would have been desirable to him. It is also proper to state that he has lost his right leg below the knee in consequence of a wound received at Murfreesborough. When the brigade was in good condition, and up to perhaps May last, Colonel Marks was desirous of being appointed to the command. He may indeed have the same desire yet. I am ready to recommend him before anyone else, as a military man, possibly available. Colonel Snowden informed me that it is decided that my brigade is a part of my division. If this is so it is no doubt desirable that I should give it more particular attention than I have lately done. On this point I should be pleased to have your suggestions and proper understanding. hitherto my actions have been mainly confined to such matters as my former connection with the brigade enabled me to judge with perhaps superior means of information. Of Colonel Hughs I have clearly expressed my opinion, founded on long familiarity with his qualifications for office and for command. I think he should be relieved of the command of the brigade, for which he is entirely disqualified, and that he should be brought to trial. When brought before a board in Tennessee to relieve the army of disabled, disqualified, and incompetent officers Colonel Hughs was pronounced incompetent for the command of his regimental, but was retained simply because that regiment could furnish no competent officer, and it was believed that Colonel Hughs could better keep his men from deserting, and I believe that there are not now twenty effective men of his regiment present for duty. While I should regret to see the officers and men of the brigade disappointed in regard to their wishes for the preservation of a distinct organization, the report of your inspector presents matters very unfavorable thereto, I confess. If Governor Harris could be placed in command both of Archer's and my brigade it would perhaps