War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1301 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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The name "tribunal," I think, is objectionable, but I use it for lack of a better; perhaps "courts of inquiry" might be preferred. The present corps courts could sit as at present, to try all cases which could conveniently be brought before them, but with their duties limited to finding guilty or innocent. Our present courts and their proceedings are hampered by forms which often seriously interfere with justice. The tribunals I think should be made as free from them as possible. For instance, a court-martial trying a man for desertion cannot find him guilty of disobedience of orders, or change the charge to that after the prisoner has pled. I cannot see how justice would be defeated by allowing a change in charge or specification by either court-martial or tribunal at any stage of the proceedings, provided the prisoner be notified of it.

I omitted to suggest in its proper connection that when any unprovided-for offense should be committed, a court-martial might be assembled to classify the offense at the same time that a court of inquiry was deciding upon the guilt or innocence of those accused of it.

I see myself more than one objection to a system of so little pliability as to above, but trusting to your superior judgment in such matters to decide whether its advantages or disadvantages outweigh, without undertaking their discussion.

I remain, very respectfully, major, your obedient servant,

E. P. ALEXANDER,

Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery, First Army Corps.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,

March 10, 1865.

Brigadier General M. W. GARY,

Commanding Cavalry Brigade:

A small body of the enemy's cavalry is reported to be moving down their river from Columbia. General Ewell thinks they can be checked by a squadron of your command at Beaver Dam Creek, twenty-three miles above Richmond, or at Tuckahoe Creek, twelve miles above, if sent immediately. You will please comply with this suggestion at once. Direct the officer in charge of the squadron to apply to General Ewell in Richmond, who will furnish him with guides.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. LATROBE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,

March 10, 1865.

Brigadier General M. W. GARY,

Commanding Cavalry, Brigade:

The lieutenant-general commanding directs that you will please send your scouts down the Williamsburg road and over the White Oak Swamp and Chakahominy to find out if there are any troops upon that road. A deserter came in to-day who reports that Thomas' army is upon that road; has been collecting there for a week.

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN W. FAIRFAX,

Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.