War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0661 Chapter XXXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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least, of the force required for the enterprise, and by any contemporaneous operation you may deem judicious to favor and promote the scheme.

For any further details or explanation, either as to his own views or those of Generals Samuel Jones or Imboden, with whom he has conferred, I refer you to Captain McNeill, and commend him to your favorable consideration.

With great esteem, very respectfully, yours,

J. A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

March 11, 1863.

Brigadier General J. D. IMBODEN,

Commanding Northwestern, Virginia Brigade:

GENERAL: I have received your letter of March 2, and approve the plan therein proposed. I think, if carried out with your energy and promptness, it will succeed. I will endeavor to give you the two regiments you ask, Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first [Virginia], if I can replace them temporarily in this army, otherwise I shall not be able to spare them, as I been obliged to send three divisions on other service. If I cannot spare the regiments named, I will endeavor to get you two from General Samuel Jones, and I recommend that you communicate with him, that he may make a movement into the Kanawha Valley, so as to fix any force that may be there stationed. I am expecting General Hooker's army to move against me as soon as the roads will permit, and I do not feel that I ought to diminish this army by a single man. By the 1st of April, or before that time, I expect this army to be engaged in active operations.

I shall expect to hear from you again.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

March 11, 1863.

Major General SAMUEL JONES,

Commanding Department Southwestern Virginia, Dublin:

GENERAL: I am anxious for General J. D. Imboden, commanding Northwestern Virginia Brigade, to make a secret expedition. He will not have force enough to insure success unless I can re-enforce him with two regiments of infantry. At the time he ought to start I expect to be actively engaged with the enemy in my front, and do not feel that I can diminish this army by that amount of men, unless I can replace them. I write to know whether you can send me two regiments, or detach them temporarily to General Imboden for this service, which will require about a month or six weeks.

At the time General Imboden moves, I should desire you to threaten any force of the enemy that may be in the Kanawha Valley, with the view of attracting it from him. I have requested General Imboden to communicate with you on this subject. I need not advise you that the matter must be kept secret.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.