Fifteenth Virginia, Corse's brigade, last night. General C. speaks of them as among the most reliable in the regiment. Also, two from Hunton's brigade. I send his own report in the premises, to show that every effort is being made to prevent this practice. Deserter from the enemy last night (Orders, 65), Canadian, says he was kidnapped with a half dozen others, drugged, and forced into service. This is evidently the way in which the "quota" is made up. The enemy are certainly put to great straits to get men, and by turning in our detailed men and employing negroes we will more than equal them in nerve, if not in numbers.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. E. PICKETT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
September 26, 1864.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR,
SIR: I have the honor to inclose* a report of Major-General Pickett of operations on his line, from which you will see that the presence of the flag-of-truce boat at Cox's Wharf interferes with the enemy takes advantage of it to push on his work on the canal. I do not know whether it will be practicable to have the returned prisoners delivered at any other point, but respectfully ask that some understanding be had between the commissioners on the subject. It must be agreed either that the presence of the flag-of-truce boat must suspend working as well as firing on both sided, or it must be understood that either party shall be at liberty to fire. It is manifest that we cannot agree to a state of affairs that inures entirely to the benefit of the enemy.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Petersburg, September 26, 1864.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
Commanding Confederate Armies:
GENERAL: I cannot impress upon you too strongly the imperious necessity of getting all our men subject to military duty to the field. We should have them with the armies now. The duties of the Enrolling Bureau are the most important in the service, and every facility should be given to it to increase our forces. I think the officers should be entirely relieved from the consideration of exempting, detailing, or recommending for light service. Let their sole object and purpose be to put men into the field and fill up our depleted regiments. Let others undertake their relief and exemption. The enemy are increasing their forces in Virginia, and I presume in other States. I get no additions. The men coming in do not supply the vacancies caused by sickness, desertions, and other casualties. If things thus continue the most
*See next, ante.