furloughs to be granted to officers and men who are members of the Georgia Legislature. I have no doubt that the order was issued for good reasons, but its operation may prove very injurious to the service. In the Forty-ninth Georgia Regiment every field officer is entitled to and has received leave of absence, and in Wright's brigade the brigade commander has also received leave, and the command devolves on a lieutenant-colonel. This will prevent the efficient action of either the regiment or brigade in case of battle, and diminish the strength of the army almost as much as if both were taken away from it. The order leaves me no discretion to avoid consequences that may be so injurious.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Weldon, N. C., October 28, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to request that you will have the Fifty-sixth North Carolian Infantry, now on detached service with Brigadier-General Heth in Western North Carolina, returned to my brigade. I make this application because my force at present is inadequate to hold this line if pressed. The Fifty-sixth has been detached for nearly two months, and I hope you will have it returned. If the Department thinks it necessary, as perhaps it is, to have this force in Western North Carolina arresting deserters, let my suggest that General Whiting might spare a regiment for that duty. Two brigades of your command (Barton's and Ransom's) cover a line assailable at all points from Petersburg to a point near Wilmington, a length of 225 miles, while General Whiting's command, I understand, is confined to the defense of Wilmington, and in the event of any danger to him he can be re-enforced by rail promptly. In addition to the Fifty-sixth I now have 150 men from different regiments arresting deserters. I am sure, general, that you will appreciate with me the propriety of this application.
I am, with sincere regard, yours,
M. W. RANSOM,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Petersburg, October 31, 1863.
When I assumed command of this department I found the regiment General Ransom refers to detached on its present duty, and by direct order, I learned, from the War Department. I shoul not, of course, interfer with it, even did I think it ought to be withdrawn (Except in case of emergency), without consulting the Department. I fully concur with General Ransom in his request, more particularly since Barton's brigade has been withdrawn from North Carolina. The line, formerly not strong, is still further weakened. If, therefore, the necessity for troops in Western North Carolina still exists I ask that the regiment be taken from General Whiting's command and General Ransom's returned.
G. E. PICKETT,