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[288] Let me suggest that the necessary measures be taken without delay.

The artillery also wants organization, and especially a competent commander. I therefore respectfully urge that such a one be sent me. I have applied for Colonel Alexander,1 but General Lee objects that he is too valuable in his present position to be taken from it. His value to the country would be more than doubled, I think, by the promotion and assignment I recommend.

Should the movement in question be made, Lieutenant-General Longstreet's command would necessarily take part in it. Other troops might be drawn from General Beauregard's and Lieutenant-General Polk's departments. The infantry of the latter is so small a force that what would remain after the formation of proper garrisons for Mobile would be useless in Mississippi, but a valuable addition to the Army of Tennessee. But of these matters you are much better informed than I.

General Bragg replied on the 4th of March:

In reply to yours of the 27th ult., just received, I hasten to inform you that your inference from the letters of the President and Secretary of War is correct and you are desired to have all things in readiness at the earliest practicable moment for the movement indicated.2 It is hoped but little time will be required to prepare the force now under

1 Recommending his promotion.

2 Under rules established by Mr. Seddon, I had no authority to do so.

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