I would respectfully suggest that the companies of Lay's regiment, of which I inclose a list herewith, may be assigned to me, in order that they may being corporate with some recognized battalion or regiment. The companies are mere skeletons, and when consolidated would probably make three or four companies of the legal complement. Lay's authority to raise a regiment having been revoked by the War Department these companies were ordered to report to me by Major-General Gardner, when in command of the district.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
List of companies of Lay's former regiment: A, Captain C. A. Hester; B, Captain Louis Winston; C, Captain W. D. Sneed; D, Captain J. t. Williams; E, Captain E. J. York; F, Captain P. J. Gibson; G, Captain J. D. Mitchell; H, Captain P. H. Wallace; I, Captain B. F. Kimbrough; K, Captain John Fletcher.
STAUNTON, February 25, 1865.
I have the been notified by General Lee that Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee has been added to my department. What is state of things in East Tennessee? Where is Major Stoddard Johnston? Let your brigade be held in readiness to move to railroad at Dublin at a moment's notice. Continue in charge until further orders.
J. A. EARLY,
CONFIDENTIAL.] HDQRS. CAVALRY BRIGADE AND DISTRICT,
Lee County, Va., February 25, 1865.
GENERAL: I have just returned form a tour of inspection in which I visited the several battalions of my command, and am glad to be able to report them all increasing in numbers and improving in drill, discipline, &c., but sadly deficient in clothing, arms, equipments, &c. I have sent Major Clarke, my quartermaster, to Wytheville, to receive and receipt for what clothing is coming to my command, and obtain whatever quartermaster stores he is able. Lieutenant Carrington, ordnance officer, also goes after ordnance stores, with full reports of all our wants. It is sincerely hoped he may be successful in obtaining all that is needed. I find the people in the country thoroughly aroused to a sense of duty, and believe that in a fortnight I shall have most of the men liable to military service in the field. With the Twenty-fifth Virginia Cavalry Regiment I believe I could move out of this county by 1st of April with 1,200 or 1,500 effective men, whose course of discipline will insure good service. I had Harrison Thomas, Company B, Fourth Kentucky, executed yesterday, in presence of his regiment. He was charged with repeated desertion and robbing and bushwhacking. It was an assumption of authority, but I believe justified under the circumstances. Nothing but the most severe measures will redeem our army from the great curse of absence without leave and desertion; and the slow process and uncertainty of trail by the military court almost grant an immunity to such offenders. The Seventh Confederate is behaving much better.