are now serving with you have ben duty considered. It appears that you have been influenced in this matter by the temporary local advantages that might arise from the employment of men who have wrongfully abandoned their colors, and have entirely overlooked the serious injury to the general service that would follow encouragement of such a course. You have doubtless been governed by the best of motives in allowing absentees from this army to be received and retained in your corps, but such a course cannot be pursued without serious injury to the service, inasmuch at it would encourage others to leave their ranks to take service in a more desirable part of the country. The transfers you desire cannot be recommended, and you are desired to send to this office a complete list of all the men now serving in your command (naming their companies and regiments) who are absentees from this army, with the view of having them returned to their proper commands. If there are men in your command whose term of service expired before the conscript act went into operation, and who can make it appear that they have not wrongfully left the organizations to which they were first attached, and have joined your command in good faith and with the desire to serve their country, and where a man has been promoted for gallant service, an exception in their cases may be made, and they may be retained in your corps by making in the regular way applications for their transfer. In making this exception great care should be taken, as it is particulary desired that no inducements should be offered to encourage desertions. In regard to conscripts within the lines-of the enemy, you are authorized to receive as many can get in your corps, as this is at present the only means of getting them into service and will doubtless be sanctioned under the law.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, VA., January 12, 1863.
Governor Z. B. VANCE,
Raleigh, N. C.:
Have received your dispatch*, and asked General Lee, if practicable, to comply with your request. Hope soon to visit the line myself. Now is the time for these nos subject to service in the C. S. Army to come forward for a short period to aid in defense of the State.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 13, 1863.
Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: Your letter inclosing one from Northrop with regard to the wheat in Fauquier, Culpeper, &c., has been received. I will be able to cover the operations of procuring and halting it with a force of cavalry. But the chief quartermaster of this army informs me that it will be impossible to furnish any wagons from our transportation, as it is but sufficient to supply the army with provisions and forage.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
* See Davis to Lee, VOL. XXI, p. 1088.