I wish you to consider this subject, and give me your views. I desire you also to make every preparation to take the
field at a moment's notice, and to accumulate all the supplies you can. General Grant seems to be preparing to move out by his left flank. He is accumulating near Hatcher's Run depots of supplies, and apparently concentrating a strong force in that quarters. Yesterday and to-day trains have passed from his right to his left loaded with troops, which may be the body of 8,000 which you report having left Signal Hill yesterday. I cannot tell whether
it is his intention to maintain his position until his other columns approach nearer, or to anticipate any movement by us which he might suppose would them become necessary, I wish you would watch closely his movements on the north side of the river, and try and ascertain whether he is diminishing his force. It he makes the move which appearances now indicate he may draw out his whole force abandoning his lines of defense, or hold them partially and move with the remainder of his troops.
I should like very much to confer with you on these subjects, but I fear it will be impossible for me to go north of James River, and I do not know that it will be convenient for you to come here.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
P. S.-Can you not return Pickett's brigade to him in order that I may withdraw Grime's brigade his line, its division having been ordered to our right.
R. E. L.
February 22, 1865.
Major R. P. DUNCAN,
MAJOR: Nothing unusual has occurred during the past twenty-four hours. One man wounded from Ransom's brigade, and one deserted to the enemy, from the same. Nine deserted from Vise's brigade-four to the enemy, and five are supposed to be making their way to Albemarle County, Va.
B. R. JOHNSON,
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 8.
Richmond, Va., February 23, 1865.
I. Generals of reserves will immediately place upon active duty every man belonging to that class who is not specially detailed or has not been turned over to generals commanding armies, departments, or districts. They will organize them into convenient bodies, and will employ them vigorously in arresting and returning to the army all deserters and absentees.
II. This service will for the present, constitute the primary duty of officers of the reserve forces, and they will enter actively upon it.
N. AND SE. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. [CHAP. LVIII.
III. Generals of reserves will visit and inspect the localities in which this force is most need and can be most beneficially employed, and will give their personal attention to the organizations of their troops in carrying out these orders. they will report twice a month to the Adjutant and Inspector General the number of men arrested and sent by them to the army.
IV. Generals commanding armies will return to the generals of reserves for this duty all the reserve forces in active service that are not indispensably necessary in the field.
V. It is not intended that these orders shall affect the reserves employed in guarding railroad bridges.
Adjutant and Inspector General.