army in some way. Many of them having returned to their homes, one of the colonels was sent thither to collect them. They should be gotten together and added to your force. Should you be compelled to retire before the enemy, you will do all in your power to hinder his advance, and if you fall back you will be guided in your movements so as to co-operate with this army.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
Petersburg, March 28, 1865.
Honorable J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
GENERAL: General Early who has been so far as Bristol telegraphs from Abingdon, on the 27th, that the enemy with considerable force of infantry and cavalry has advanced into East Tennessee and is repairing the railroad. Vaughn has been compelled to fall back across the Watauga and Holston. Enemy's cavalry advanced to Carter's Station, on the Watauga, but is reported to have retired. Infantry is said to be ten miles below Jonesborough. Another force of cavalry is represented to be advancing on road by Bean's Station and Kingsport toward Blountsville. The developments are not sufficient as yet to enable a correct judgment to be formed of the extent of his force or designs. The reports of the former are various and no doubt extravagant. Such are always disseminated by the enemy to encourage themselves and alarm our people. General Early's troops are not sufficient, I fear, in number or condition to oppose effectual resistance. I have directed that the whole strength of the country be called out. I have some doubts whether General Early can the most effectually accomplish this. I consider him an officer of great intelligence, good judgment, and undoubted bravery. Yet the reverses of his last campaign and his recent defeat at Waynesborough, have materially shaken the confidence of the troops and people, and though he may be entirely blameless the ill effects would be the same. If this feeling does exist a change of commanders would be advantageous, and so high an opinion have I of General Early's integrity of purpose and devotion to the country, that should such be the case, I believe he would be the first to propose it. Your acquaintance with the troops in that department and the feelings of the community may enable you to have better information on this subject than I possess, and I therefore solicit your counsel and advice. I confess that should it be advisable to relieve General Early I do not know with whom to replace him.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 73.
Richmond, March 28, 1865.
* * * * *
XIII. Brigadier General W. T. Wofford, Provisional Army, C. S., will make full reports of his operations under paragraph 36, Special Orders, Numbers