Hdqrs. Department of Northern Virginia
June 8, 1862
The Hon. Secretary of War,
Sir: I have the honor to inclose to you a list of details and transfers from this army to service in hospitals, in the quartermaster’s department, and to other duties, which will take them from the troops now in the presence of the enemy. You will perceive that the army will lose by these orders 37 men, among them 4 sergeants and 6 members of cavalry companies. If it be possible it would be much better to employ persons not in service for hospital duties, or, if this cannot be done, convalescents should be used rather than men on duty in the field, and privates rather than non-commissioned officers.
I respectfully call your attention to the great importance of not diminishing the cavalry force, already too small, by details or transfers for any purpose. You will find some men detailed from this army for service not in the field at distant places. I respectfully request that no such details be made, unless it be found impossible to procure suitable persons for such services at the places where they are to be rendered, or without taking them from this army.
I also respectfully call your attention to the fact that the list shows one transfer from an artillery company in service with this army to a partisan ranger corps. I understand that such transfers would not be made by the Department, and have so replied to a number of applications for similar transfers. I respectfully ask that this army be not diminished by transfers of this kind, at least for the present. The inclosed list represents the accumulation of three days, and if it is to go on it will seriously impair our strength.
I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R E Lee
Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, p. 581.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 2