and the families can and will subsist on molasses, bread, and vegetables for the balance of the year, if they can get gold for their supplies. There is a great deal of meat and bread inside the enemy's lines that our people would bring us for gold, but they won't go to that trouble for Confederate money. They can keep gold so much safer than they can meat and bread, and it is always food and clothing. If the Government has not the gold, it must impress it; or if there is no law for the impressment, the gold must be taken without a law. Necessity does not know or wait for laws. If we stop to make laws in order that we may reach the gold, it will disappear the day that the law is mentioned in Congress. To secure it no one should suspect that we are after it until we knock at the doors of the vaults that contain it, and we must then have guards, to be sure that it is not made away with. It seems to my mind that our prospect will be brighter than they have ever been if we can only get food for our men, and I think the plan that I have proposed will secure the food. There seems to be many reasons for the opinion that he may end the war, as he desires. To get the capital, he will concentrate here everything that he has; and we surely are better able to fight him when we shall have concentrated than when we are in detachments. The Army of the West will get new life and spirit as soon as it finds itself alongside of this, and we will feel more comfortable ourselves to know that all are under one head and one eye that is able to handle them.
I remain, most respectfully and truly, your most obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
February 14, 1865.
Major General G. W. C. LEE,
The enemy have made a change in their picket-line in front of Kershaw's left, replacing cavalry by infantry and strengthening and advancing their whole line. Be on the alert.
HEADQUARTERS JOHNSON'S DIVISION,
February 14, 1865.
Major R. P. DUNCAN,
MAJOR: I have nothing unusual to report this morning. Two men deserted to the enemy last night from the Twenty-sixth South Carolina Volunteers, Elliott's brigade. No casualties to report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. R. JOHNSON.
RICHMOND, VA., February 15, 1865.
Commanding Valley District:
GENERAL: I received a letter from General Jackson this evening, in which he states that Lieutenant-Colonel Dunn has assumed command