War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1154 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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mand. Under these circumstances i am induced to urge that immediate measures be taken to place it under a good commander. i need only refer to Lieutenant-General Ewell in order to show that its present commander is entirely unqualified for his position. Some weeks since I recommended that Lieutenant Colonel R. B. Snowden, of the Forty-fourth and Twenty-fifth consolidated Tennessee regiments, would be assigned to the command of the brigade, with temporary rank. Colonel Snowden has been indisposed, and no action, as far as I can learn, has been taken on my recommendation. The state of suspense in which this matter is left has doubtless created parties and give rise to intrigues and dissensions in which the real good of the brigade is neglected or sacrificed for individual advantages. Under these circumstances, I am induced to make other suggestions, such as I trust will enable the proper authorities to act promptly and restore the brigade to a good condition.

I am convinced that a good permanent commander is the one thing needful in this brigade, an a cure for all its evils. Lieutenant-Colonel Snowden is undoubtedly the best material for a commander now present with the brigade, and he is for a time disabled.

Colonel A. S. Marks, the former colonel of the Seventeenth Tennessee Regiment, of this brigade, and now a member of General Forrest's general court-martial, is one of the ablest regimental commanders that I have been associated with in the Confederate service, and will make an excellent brigade commander. A telegraphic communication would command his presence with the brigade if the President should think proper to place him in command of it. If it were not that I should extend my letter beyond reasonable limits I might enumerate more explicitly Colonel Marks' qualifications, and might dwell upon the superior condition of his regiment in the Army of Tennessee, all of which are known to and will doubtless be attested by the commanding general of the Confederate armies now at Richmond.

It has been suggested to me that Governor Isham G. Harris, of Tennessee, would be a suitable office to command the troops of Tennessee now in Virginia, and that he might add by his name and influence to the strength of his command. To this I revert only to commend it, would such an appointment be preferred by the President.

Either of the above appointments would be more than acceptable to the brigade. Should necessity compel delay in giving this brigade a permanent commander I would suggest that Major G. C. Brown, assistant adjutant and inspector general, serving with Lieutenant General R. S. Ewell, is a Tennesseean, has had much experience in the field, is said to be an efficient officer, and might be assigned to its temporary command.

It has been urged to me that to save the brigade from threatened evils it might be returned to my command, where it could receive more especial attention than it can ever receive in its present detached condition.

Whenever the commanding general thinks proper to order it to report to me without disintegrating any other command I shall be pleased to receive it, and add it to the present strength of my division, and will hope to be of service in restoring its efficiency.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. R. JOHNSON,

Major-General.