I hope and believe is not true, except in so far as our troops are nearer to their homes and therefore more tempted than those farther south. I refer, of course, to our amries in Virginia and North Carolina, those in the south and west I know nothing about. Even this should not, however, stand in the [way] of my rendering all possible aid to the Confederacy if necessary that it should be done, but if you could fall upon some arrangement with the State, all of thme, by which their militia could be legally employed in this service, I know that its results would be most happy in this State, and I doubt not equally so in the others. I need not argue the matter, knowing a statement of the facts will be sufficient. In this connection I beg leave also to say that, having made arragements to capture and restore desertes, it is also equally or decidedly more important rather to remove as far as possible the mauses which move our troops to quit their colors. I do not believe that one case in a hundred is caused by disloyalty; have no apprehensions whatever on that score. Homesickness, fatigue, hard fare, &c., have, of course, much to do with it. The promose of the law of conscription, that they should have furloughs, which has never been redeemed, is one principal cause beyond a doubt. They invariably offer this execuse when arrested. How this can be removed and this promise redeemed in the present excigencies of the service I am, of course, unable to see. Another great cause, in fact almost the only one assigned by the last class of conscripts, is that they were re to enter the regiments of their choice with their neighbors and relations. Large numbers actually threaten to desert before they leave camp, and generaly make good their threats. I have the honor to urge this matter upon your attention on a former occassion, and I am now fully convinced that the service loses in attempting to fill up certain regiments first, without regard to the wishes of the conscripts. The remedy is plain here, and we should no longer neglect it.
Pardon this long letter, far exceeding, I fear, your ability to read during the exacting presure of the great events by which your time is engaged, and believe me to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS, Numbers 11. Near Fredericksburg, May 15, 1863.
The following-named officers are announced as of the staff of the lieutenant-general commanding, and willbe obeyed and respected accordingly: Captain J. J. Clarke, provisional engineer; Capt John W. Riely, assistant adjutant-general.
By command of Lieutenant-General Longstreet:
G. M. SOPRREL,
HEADQUARTERS PICKETT'S PICKETT'S DIVISION, Numbers 48. May 15, 1863.
The major-general commanding taken pleasure in expressing to his command his high appreciation of the gallant and meritorious conduct of Sergt. J. P. Jordan, Company H, Seventeenth Virginia; Private J. T. Mils, Company H. Seventeenth Virginia; Private W. Gravatt, Company F, Thritieth Virginia, and Private S. C. Madison, Company F,