WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., January 28, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
SIR: I have heard with great anxiety the apprehensions entertained by you respecting supplies to your army. Every opportunity has been afforded to Colonel Cole to learn from the proper officers the resources that may be commanded, and I am pleased that he finds them greater than he had anticipated. The reports I have called for are less satisfactory to me, however, than I had hoped, and they shall certainly arouse all the powers I can command to remove the difficulties. For the present these difficulties are mainly of transportation, and I shall do all possible to remove or diminish them. Colonel Cole will give you orally fuller details than I can well write, and I refer you to him.
You may rely on my best exertions in my sphere here to maintain your army in comfort and efficiency.
With high consideration and esteem, respectfully,
J. A. SEDDON,
[Secretary of War.]
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY CORPS, Near Chesterfield Numbers -.
Depot, January 29, 1863.
Owing to the exhaustion of all the forage country within reasonable reach of the artillery, and the extremely difficult condition the roads, Major [John] Page, chief quartermaster of the Artillery Corps, will immediately send into the counties along the Virginia Central Railroad, and to those along the James River Canal, agents to procure forage, grain, and hay, especially grain, have it taken to these public channels of conveyance, and by them transported, so as to be available as speedily as possible for the batteries. He will require all diligence and energy to be used in effecting the object, and issue exact instructions toward accomplishing [the end] in view.
W. N. PENDLETON,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Dublin Depot, January 29, 1863.
Major General J. B. FLYOD,
Commanding Virginia State Line:
GENERAL: I send with this an extract from a letter written by Colonel Hugh McClung, of Knoxville, to Captain [Joseph] Jaques, at Saltville, giving information of an intended movement of the enemy's cavalry, 10,000 strong, on the railroad, and especially for the destruction of the salt-works. I have also a report from Colonel [John] McCausland, at Princeton, in Mercer Country, that it is thought the enemy will very son make these cavalry raids on a large scale from the Kanawha-one by Lewisburg, one by Pack's Ferry, and one by Coal River, through Boone to Tazewell County, the latter directed chiefly, I suppose, against the salt-works.
Colonel McClung's informant must be mistaken as to the number of cavalry the enemy proposes to send. I send it to you, however, for what it is worth.
It would be well to have a few defensive works. Block-houses for artillery and infantry would be best, on commanding points near the salt-works. The employes of the works could, if organized and armed,