War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1286 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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Abstract from field return of the Cavalry Division, Major General Matthew C. Butler commanding, for December 20, 1864.

Present for duty.

Command. Officers. Men. Aggregate Aggregate

present. present



Headquarters 5 ........... 5 7

Butler's 40 940 1,345 2,763


Young's 57 586 873 2,668


Dearing's 55 843 1,168 2,416


Battery 3 62 72 94



Total 160 2,431 3,463 7,948

Serviceable horses, 2,135; unserviceable, 637.


December 21, 1864.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding, Petersburg:

I would suggest that your order General Whiting, if you have not already done so, to hold his position as long as he has a man. If his guns are knocked down, to hold on with his infantry and field batteries. I fancy that troops in forts place all of their reliance upon their heavy guns, hence their despondency and disposition to give up when they find that they have lost them. If they are prepared for such an emergency beforehand, they will meet it as they should. It may also be well to suggest to General Whiting the propriety of halting General Colquitt's brigade, which leaves to-day, at Goldsborough, to protect the bridge near there until the other brigades have passed it. If this weather continues I should think that we might spare another division, if necessary, as the roads will soon become impracticable for flank movements, and our lines ought to be strong enough to enable us to hold them against any direct attack.




December 21, 1864.

General R. E. LEE,


I desire to suggest that instead of allowing your dismounted cavalrymen to disperse and go to their homes during the winter months, they be organized into companies, &c., and put into the trenches, or mount themselves on Mules, I believe, will do as well for cavalry service in the winter months as horses. Whilst on the subject of organization, I would also suggest that you take the matter in hand and arrange our entire system, beginning with the department of conscription. We still have it in our power to organize and put out handsome armies in the spring, if we will only go to work with proper feeling and spirit. I fear that too much time will be taken up in con-