War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1257 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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CONFIDENTIAL CIRCULAR.] WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.

In addition to the results of personal interviews held with the several chiefs of bureaus of the War Department, they will observe the following general instructions in reference to a possible removal of the Department from Richmond:

Whatever may be indispensably requisite to the current operations of the Department will be retained up to the last moment of safety, the utmost preliminary preparations for removal having first been made.

Whatever may not be deemed thus requisite will be removed without unnecessary delay to Daville, Va., or points on the railroad beyond Danville, from which they may be readily collected together. Stores and material capable of being afterward transported by wagons may, in the discretion of each chief of each chief of bureau, be removed to Lynchburg and intermediate points. Such stores and materials as cannot be otherwise transported will be sent to Lynchburg or intermediate points by canal.

WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,

Richmond, Va., February 25, 1865.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding Armies of the Confederate States:

I have given the necessary orders in regard to commencing the removal of stores, &c., but, if possible, would like to know whether we may probably count on a period of ten or twelve days. If the urgency is not very great better order and system can be carried our.

With great respect,

JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,

Richmond, Va., February 25, 1865.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding Armies of the Confederate States:

GENERAL: Your letters of this date in regard to prisoners and deserters are received. The presume of other duties made me turn over to the Assistant Secretary the matter of the prisoners. I agree with you that one person should manage it. It has been embarrassed already by conflict of action, but I hope things are now properly arranged. Judge Campbell will communicate with you about it. I know of no means in our power, in addition to those already employed, except, as suggested by you, to write to influential citizens of North Carolina, urging the formation of a better public feeling, and this I will do at once. I have just heard that General Ewell has an order from you to remove the cotton and tobacco from Richmond and to destroy all that cannot be taken away. A convention [committee?] of the General Assembly has just been to see me on the general subject of removal, and I telegraphed you a few minutes since. This morning I called together the heads of bureaus, and directed them to prepare for removal, but I as yet given no order of execution. I have brought the matter before the President and Cabinet. Nothing has been done. Do you advise that I go to work at once?

With great respect,

JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,

Secretary of War.