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[398] command of the troops opposed to Sherman. The same day, the formal orders were issued by Breckenridge to govern the chiefs of bureaux upon the evacuation of Richmond. Lynchburg was the point designated to which stores and material were to be transported, but what was not indispensably requisite might be sent to Danville, or points on the Danville railroad. It was to this region, it will be remembered, that Grant had already directed Sheridan to proceed.

On the 24th of February, Lee called attention to ‘the alarming number of desertions now occurring in the army. . . . Since the 12th inst.,’ he said, ‘they amount in two divisions of Hill's corps . . . to about four hundred. There are a good many from other commands. . . . It seems that the men are influenced very much by the representations of their friends at home, who appear to have become very despondent of our success. They think the cause desperate, and write to the soldiers advising them to take care of themselves, assuring them that, if they will return home, the bands of deserters so far outnumber the home guards that they will be in no danger of arrest. . . . These desertions have a very bad effect upon the troops who remain, and give rise to painful apprehensions.’ On the 25th, he said: ‘Hundreds of men are deserting nightly, and I cannot keep the army together unless examples are made of such cases.’ On the 28th, he reported ‘twelve hundred more. One hundred and seventy-eight in one division are reported to have gone over to the enemy. In addition to the above . . . on the night of the 26th, from seventy-five to one hundred deserted. . . . These men generally ’

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