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[289] your command, as the season is at hand, and the time seems propitious.

Such additional forces will be ordered to you as the exigencies of the service elsewhere will permit, and it is hoped your own efforts will secure many absentees and extra-duty men to the ranks.

The deficiency you report in artillery-horses seems very large, and so different from the account given by General Hardee on turning over the command, that hopes are entertained that there must be some error on your part. Prompt measures should be taken by you, however, to supply the want, whatever it may be.

The part of your letter relative to this and field transportation will be referred to the Quartermaster-General.

Colonel Alexander, applied for by you, as chief of artillery, is deemed necessary by General Lee, in his present position. Brigadier-General W. N. Pendleton, an experienced officer of artillery, has been ordered to your headquarters to inspect that part of your command, and report its condition.

Should his services be acceptable to you, I am authorized to say you can retain him.

I am exceedingly anxious to gratify you on this point, for I know the deficiency now existing.

It is more than probable that such a junction may soon be made as to place Colonel Alexander under your command.

Reply, dated March 12, 1864.

I had the honor to receive your letter of the 4th instant, in which I am desired to

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