Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

November 28, 1862

Hon. James A. Seddon,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

Sir: Your letter of the 26th instant has been handed to me by Brig. R. A. Pryor. There is not an unattached regiment in this portion of the army, or a Virginia regiment in a brigade formed of troops from other States. There are five Virginia brigades in this corps, commanded, respectively, by Generals Kemper, Armistead, Mahone, Garnett, and Corse—all from Virginia. Their brigades are composed entirely of Virginia regiments. I do not, therefore, think it would be advantageous to the public service to break up these brigades or to displace their commanders, in order to assign General Pryor to a command. In General Jackson’s corps there are also five Virginia brigades, composed entirely of troops from that State, except General Taliaferro’s, which consists of three Virginia and two Alabama regiments. These latter I purpose, when an opportunity offers, to place with two Alabama regiments in Longstreet’s corps, now commanded by Brigadier-General Law, to form his brigade. General Taliaferro, I understand, is still absent from his brigade, in consequence of a wound received in battle, and General Pryor might be assigned, temporarily, to its command; but when it became necessary to dismember General Pryor’s brigade, I thought the public interest would be much advanced by placing him on duty with the troops operating on the Blackwater, with which country he is familiar, and he possesses, in addition, the confidence of that community. I still think that his services at this time will be more valuable in that region than elsewhere.

I understand there are two regiments of cavalry detached from General Robertson, who is in North Carolina doing duty on the Blackwater, and I think their efficiency would be increased by placing them temporarily in a brigade under General Pryor, who will be able to afford much protection to that country. I have, therefore, desired General Pryor to return to Richmond, and I request you to authorize these two cavalry regiments, and the field battery now serving on the Blackwater, to be assigned to his command, to operate under the direction of General French, whose headquarters, I believe, are now at Petersburg. In addition to thwarting the designs of the enemy in that quarter, I think General Pryor will be able to elicit the aid and co-operation of the citizens of that region in securing all the resources of the country for our army.

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


R E Lee,





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, pp. 1036-1037

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January 5