War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1133 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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line between those points and connecting the two by extensive and formidable works. The effects of this change is to bring the Mechanicsville and Meadow Brigades, heretofore the avenue of escape for the enemy's raiders, under direct fire of our guns. It was from this line the four 30-pounder Parrotts were transferred to Petersburg.

No efforts have been spared to increase the efficiency of the command. The troops are drilled twice daily when not engaged on detached work. I am myself in the habit of frequently inspecting the line. Captain Marye, my assistant, and my ordnance officer, Lieutenant Brent, still more frequently, and the division commanders are required to visit each his own portion and to report the condition twice weekly. There are many competent and intelligent officers attached to the Artillery Defenses; if there are others less efficient it cannot be a grater source of regret to any one than to myself, but I found them in their positions and cannot remove them; in a particular case I have made the effort and failed. Neither officers nor men can be expected to be perfect in firing with long-range rifle guns until they shall have had some practice, and the location of the lines is not very well adapted to such practice. If, however, the commanding general desires it, a few shots will instruct them practically. I conceive, however, that it may prove rather a dangerous operation to the people of the country and to our own troops who may be in advance. Proper instructions have ling since been given as to the mode of loading rifle guns. That there was much unnecessary firing and consequent waste of ammunition on the evening of the 1st instant, is very true; it was, however, in violation of existing and reiterated orders from myself; it resulted from want of judgment and experience on the part of the officer who directed it, and was stopped as soon as I could reach the ground. I have reason to hope it will not occur again.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.


Chaffin's Farm, October 4, 1864.

Major-General HAMPTON,

Commanding, &c:

GENERAL: I am very much gratified at the operations of the cavalry, communicated in your letter of the 3rd instant.* The failure of Dearing's brigade to hold the position assigned to it, I fear, will entail upon us great loss. If the enemy cannot be prevented from extending his left, he will eventually reach the Appomattox and cut us off from the south side altogether. I wish you would have Colonel Griffin's conduct inquired into, and, if necessary, he must be brought before a court-martial. I grieve with you at the loss of General Dunovant and Doctor Fontaine, two officers whom it will be difficult to replace. I have written to General Hill as regards his operations against the enemy, and have suggested, should he attempt to break the enemy's center, that you should operate against his flank or rear. I wish you would communicate with him on the subject.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



*Not found.