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Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

November 2, 1863


Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart,

Commanding, &c.:

General: Your letter of the 31st ultimo, with reference to the inspection report of the batteries in your command, is received.

I am aware of the difficulties under which those batteries labor, and am disposed to make proper allowances for them. The matters which I mentioned in my letter, however, are such as require only a due degree of attention on the part of the officers. As far as grease for the harness is concerned, all that is used in the artillery is made in the same way as that you refer to, and as it is impossible in our condition to have all the facilities and means that we would desire, it is necessary to exert increased effort to supply the deficiencies, and render available such as we have. We are compelled to depend upon the resources of our officers and men in making the most of what we have, and not to wait until we get what we would prefer. The subject of greasing the harness was not mentioned in the report. I only referred to its being dirty and suffered to lie on the ground for want of proper racks. This can be easily remedied.

In the case of Chew’s battery, the report does not mean that it has not changed camp in eight days, but only that it has not been on the march or in action during that time, so that it has had opportunity to wash and clean the guns and equipments.

The report of General Chilton was a simple statement of facts, and as I have extracted all that require your attention, I see no good that would result from departing from usages in such matters by sending you a copy. I know that you and the officers of your artillery will do all in your power to correct these evils, and it was only with that view that they were brought to your attention.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 29, Part 2, p. 816

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 December 7