War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1189 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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have been employed upon our line of defense, but this number has been so small that their labor has strengthened us but little. These remarks apply to my own line only. I have only made occasional suggestions to General Ewell, as he has not been placed under my orders. I do not understand by your letter of yesterday whether it is your intention that I should assume the charge of General Ewell's command or not. If that was the intention, however, I presume that an order to that effect would have been published. In my letter referred to above I suggested some such move on the part of the enemy as we now apprehend, and the importance of procuring negro labor to finish the part of my line that was not occupied by troops. I presume that you know that the negroes have not been furnished. My line, therefore, from the Williamsburg road to the Nine-Mile road is left in a half-finished condition.

I do not think that any different disposition from the present can be made of the forces on this side, unless we can get the horses that are in use in the field-batteries around the city of Richmond and use them for the batteries that are held for use on our front lines. As the enemy's objective point is Richmond, I think that he will, when he receives his re-enforcements, make his principal move on this side, as this will be a shorter route and more practical at this season. He seems, too, to be under some pressure, which makes it necessary that he should obtain great results in a limited time. My line can be turned in a day's march, and my present force of cavalry or infantry or artillery is not sufficient to meet such a move. I must ask, therefore, that General Pickett's division and another battalion of artillery be sent to this side. If it is possible to spare a brigade of cavalry, we should have that also. The enemy has seven regiments on this side and we have but two very small ones. Your letter directs that I look to the arms, ammunition, provisions, and forage. Am I to understand that I am to go beyond the chiefs of those departments in providing for this corps? We try to have efficient scouts, but I fear that they are not so active as they should be. I think that they would be more efficient if we could pay them a little gold when, by extra exertion, they bring us important information. Our force on this side is too small to hope to strike a blow, except in defense. If we attack his works and take them, our loss would probably be so great that we could hardly expect to hold them. When the time comes I think that we shall make as good a fight as the same number of men ever did, but I do not think that it would be prudent to risk a battle outside of our lines.

I remain, most respectfully and truly, your obedient servant,




February 1, 1865.

Major R. P. DUNCAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

MAJOR: I have nothing of interest to report this morning. Four men deserted to the enemy last night from Elliott's brigade. The following casualties are reported: Ransom's brigade, one wounded.

Respectfully, &c.,