War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0685 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- CONFEDERATE.

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States from the south side section of Virginia. My district is peculiarly interested in this subject, and hence this letter. The Governor on the 9th of January called out by proclamation the militia, and directed that said militia be turned over to the Confederate authorities at Petersburg. By subsequent proclamation the act of the Legislature authorizing a board of examption for militia was directed to be enforced. Two months have elapsed since the call, and I am informed that only about eighty men, inclusive of officers, have reported for duty. There has been no formal organization by the election of officers, but the officers are acting by virtue of appointment from the Confederate officer commanding the militia department. At the time the militia of the South Side was called for by the President it was conceded by all as wise and judicious. The enemy was making a powerful demonstration on the Carolina coast. The entire force in the immediate vicinity of Petersburg was ordered to North Carolina, and there was required a force in and about Petersburg to supply the place of the troops thus removed. The militia in this exigency was called for by the President, and the Governor of Virginia promptly responded by the proclamation of the 9th of January, 1863. The force brought out, however, by this called up to the present time, after a lapse of over two months, numbers, as I am informed, about eighty, being infinitely less than I suppose was expected by the President or the Governor. This force is rendering service utterly inadequate to the expense indurred by the Government, that service being simply to guard some eight or ten of our paroled Confederate soldiers who have not been exchanged. It is necessary that such duty shall be preformed by some one, and hence when the regular troops were ordered to Carolina the militia were needed. But new the condition of things is changed, and the whole country around Petersburg is a military camp. Soldiers more than adequate to the present want are in that section, and the reasons then exsisting for the militia call do not now exist fro continuing them in the service. This call is acting prejudicially to the poorer classes of farmers who are dependent on their own immediate exertions for crops and general support of their families, the system of substitution being practiced in the militia as well as in the regular army. Again, the general conclusion is that the militia are rendering no essential service that compensates for the expense on the Government, and the embarrassment and general inconvenience to individuals and families.

I have felt it my duty to invite your earnest and deliberate attention to this subject, hopig that you will concur with me in the views herein presented, and if so, direct a disbandment of the militia.

Desiring a reply, I respectfully subscribe myself, with assurances of highest regards, your obedient servant,




Two Miles from Kelle's Ford, via Culpeper, March 17, 1863-7 p. m.

General R. E. LEE,

Richmond, Va.:

Enemy is retiring. He is badly hurt. We are after him. His dead men and horses strew the roads.