Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,,

Camp Near Fredericksburg, December 5, 1862

Hon. James A. Seddon,

Secretary of War:

Sir: I have the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 4th instant, and to express my thanks for your prompt attention to my requisitions. I fear I was not sufficiently explicit in my recommendations in reference to the cavalry. My proposition was to attach, temporarily, the dismounted men to the infantry regiments until able to remount themselves; to transfer to the cavalry such men of the infantry who may volunteer for that service, and who can provide themselves with horses. The latter would be permanently transferred as long as they kept themselves so provided. This is in accordance with present practice, and does not infringe the faith of the Government or the engagements of the men.

The reason that I proposed a regulation of the Department for the accomplishment of this object was, besides making it general for the whole army of the Confederacy, which, I understand, is suffering from the same causes as the army in Virginia, it would carry with it more weight and respect than if issued by a general in the field.

The act (48) of March 6, 1861, section 7, requires that, “if any volunteer shall not keep himself provided with a serviceable horse, such volunteer shall serve on foot.” The only way this service can be efficiently performed is by attaching the men, temporarily, to infantry regiments.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, pp. 1047-1048

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January 16