Hd Qrs ANVa

9th Dec 1862


Lt Gen J Longstreet

Commandg &c


I have considered your remarks and those of Gen Pickett, dated respectively Dec 29th & 28th, in reply to a reference by [illegible] to yourself for information why an order of Lt Col Corley Ch Q M to Maj Scott Ch QM Pickett’s Division, has not been obeyed. In the particular case referred to, it would have been proper, after Gen Pickett had returned the original application “disapproved,” that any exception to his decision, should have been forwarded through the proper channels to yourself, and if necessary, afterwards to these Hd. Qrs.

But as the remarks go beyond the case in question, and present the general subject of the Ch Q M of the Army to regulate its transportation, I deem it proper, to prevent difficulty in future, to state my veiws [sic], presuming that what I shall say, is applicable to the entire Q M Dept of the Army, and also to the other staff Departments.

The Chief Quarter Master receives his instructions from these Hd Qrs, and issues all orders necessary to carry them into affect, to the subordinate officers of his Dept. These orders when practicable, should be transmitted through the Ch Q Masters of Corps, Divisions, &c to the officer to whom they are addressed. When it is found necessary to send them immediately to a subordinate officer, his superior should be advised.

It is not necessary that an original order, emanating from the Ch Q M, and directed to a subordinate officer of his Dept should be transmitted through the commandg officers of corps, Divisions &c to which such officer may belong, even should the order affect the interior arrangements of the command. Upon the receipt of such an order, the officer receiving it, should at once communicate it to the officer commandg the Division, Brigade, as the case may be, to which he belongs and when deemed necessary, such commanding officer may suspend the execution of the order long enough to enable him to communicate the fact of suspension and the reasons therefor to these Hd Qrs. If the order is not altered or countermanded, it will be obeyed.

These duties are established by Regulations, see paragraphs 438 & 477. It is only by observing these rules, that a commandg officer is enabled to control the staff Departments of the Army, without assuming those duties to perform which chiefs of those Departments are assigned him.

I am General, very respectfully,

Your obt servt,

R E Lee





Source: Digital scan of original letter, signed by Lee but not in Lee’s handwriting, Cutts-Madison Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 February 4