you will not require a rule published to the army to be broken in the case of Captain Rhett's company. The army is so much weakened by loss of officers from sickness, and soldiers on furlough, that I am compelled to use every man in the way in which he can serve best. It is essential that this authority should not be taken from me. Captain Dyerle's company is serving as infantry, as it engaged to do, for a year. It would be useless as artillery. The granting authority to raise artillery companies from our present force of infantry has interfered very much with the object of your order No. 1. Besides the persons having such authority, many others have been induced by their success to attempt to form such companies, and have thereby injured the reorganization of our infantry. The infantry which has been converted into artillery is excellent infantry, but entirely ignorant of artillery. We therefore lose decidedly by the change. The rules of military correspondence require that letters addressed to you by members of this army should pass through my office. Let me ask, for the sake of discipline, that you have this rule enforced. It will save much time and trouble, and create the belief in the army that I am its commander; and moreover will enable you to see both sides of every case (the military and personal) at once. I have just received information from General Whiting that the enemy's forces near Evansport have just been considerably increased, both on land and on water. And from General Jackson, that from Moorefield the enemy has a graded road to Strasburg, passing a good deal to the south of Winchester.
Most respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. E. Johnston, General.