While I should feel the greatest satisfaction in having an interview with you, and consulting upon all subjects of interest, I cannot but feel great uneasiness for your safety should you undertake to reach me. You will not only encounter the hardships and fatigues of a very disagreeable journey, but also run the risk of capture by the enemy. I send my aide-de-camp, Major [W. H.] Taylor, back to explain to you the difficulties and dangers of the journey, which I cannot recommend you to undertake.
I am endeavoring to break up the line through Leesburg, which is no longer safe, and turn everything off from Culpeper Court-House toward Winchester, I shall move in the direction I originally intended, toward Hagerstown and Chambersburg, for the purpose of opening our line of communication through the valley, in order to procure sufficient supplies of flour. I shall not move until to-morrow, or, perhaps, next day, but when I do move the line of communication in this direction will be entirely broken up. I must, therefore, advise that you do not make an attempt that I cannot but regard as hazardous.
I have the honor to be, with high respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA
September 9, 1862.
I. The citizens of Fredericktown being unwilling, while overrun by members of this army, to pen their stores, in order to give them confidence, and to secure to officers and men purchasing supplies for benefit of this command, all officers and men of this army are strictly prohibited from visiting Fredericktown except on business, in which case they will bear evidence of this in writing from division commanders. The provost-marshal in Fredericktown will see that his guard rigidly enforces this order.
II. Major Taylor will proceed to Leesburg, Va., and arrange for transportation of the sick and those unable to walk to Winchester, securing the transportation of the country for this purpose. The route between this and Culpeper Court-House east of the mountains being unsafe will no longer be traveled. Those on the way to this army already across the river will move up promptly; all others will proceed to Winchester collectively and under command of officers, at which point, being the general depot of this army, its movements will be known and instructions given by commanding officer regulating further movements.
III. The army will resume its march to-morrow, taking the Hagerstown road. General Jackson's command will from the advance, and, after passing Middletown, with such portion as he may select, take the route toward Sharpsburg, cross the Potomac at the most convenient point, and by Friday morning take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, capture such of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such as may attempt to escape from Harper's Ferry.
IV. General Longstreet's command will pursue the main road as far as Boonsborough, where it will halt, with reserve, supply, and baggage trains of the army.
V. General McLaws, with his own division and that of General R. H. Anderson, will follow General Longstreet. On reaching Middletown will take the route to Harper's Ferry, and by Friday morning possess himself of the Maryland Heights and endeavor to capture the enemy at harper's Ferry and vicinity.