HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Wilmington, January 9, 1865.
Brigadier General C. LEVENTHORPE,
Commanding, &c., Kinston, N. C.:
GENERAL: I am instructed by the commanding general to say that the cotton which you were telegraphed to purchase is for Mrs. Meeker and Mrs. McCockidale, by whom this letter will be delivered. Mrs. McCockidale is to pay for one bale, and will be allowed to go into New Berne with it, to return immediately. Mrs. Meeker carries the other two bales, to be paid for by the quartermaster's department, as for secret service. She does and will return in her own time. As such persons are never entirely above suspicion they should be closely observed, and not allowed to obtain in our lines information of any value. Every facility for their return will be given.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[JANUARY 10, 1865.-For abstract from return of the Army of Northern Virginia, see Part I, p. 383.]
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
January 10, 1865.
General R. E. LEE,
Your letter of the 7th instant is received. In view of the probabilities of consolidating the regiments at an early day, would it not be better not to have the vacancies in the regiments and companies filled, inasmuch as it will result in case of consolidation in the loss of a man to this army for every new appointment made. I would therefore suggest that no new nominations be made and that any now before the Senate be [not] confirmed. it seems to me that the consolidation of the companies of the regiments down to six is, or would be, a much less material change in our resent organization than the breaking up of the regiments and organizing new ones. Indeed, my only object in making the suggestion was to prepare a more simple, effective, and satisfactory way to executing your plan. This plan need not disturb any one further than to break up the four smallest companies in each regiment and distribute the men and officers amongst the other six companies. If there is a surplus of field and company officers let some of them be assigned to duty assisting the conscribing officers, or to temporary duty at home in gathering up home organizations, until a vacancy occurs in the regiment ot which they belong. Every officer who is dropped or discharged under the proposed consolidation bill will be lost to the service for the war. This has been verified so often already that reasons for the remarks cannot be needed. Whether he will be satisfied to go home and remain under the claim of belonging to some useless cavalry organization remains to be seen. I incline to the opinion to go home and remain under the claim of belonging to some useless cavalry organization remains to be seen. I incline to the opinion that he will think himself as good as many who are retained, and as worthy of the confidence of his county. If there should be any such some will be apt to express their discontent in the presence of their men, and when they do so they will excite the sympathy, more or