mand is constantly required here, the War department has constituted the defense of Wilmington and the District of the Cape Fear a separate command assigned to me. Major General George E. Pickett, headquarters at Petersburg, is assigned to the command of the remainder of North Carolina.
I write you this for your information.
W. H. C. WHITING,
CAMP AT ORANGE COURT-HOUSE,
September 29, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States, Richmond, Va.:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I have not yet ascertained, with certainly, the correctness of the report that re-enforcements were being sent from General Meade's army to General Rosecrans. The report has been repeated from the valley without giving the circumstances on which it was based. On the other hand, scouts north of the Rappahannock state re-enforcements as coming to General Meade. Those on the Potomac report a large steamer laden with troops as having passed up the river on the 21st, one on the 22d, one on the 23d, and two on the 25th. These may have been conscripts. If it is true that re-enforcements are being sent from General Meade to General Rosecrans, it shows that the enemy is not as strong as he asserts. General Sam. Jones reports that Burnside has carried nearly all his troops to re-enforce Rosecrans, leaving only a brigade or two of mounted men between him and Knoxville. It would seem probable, from statements of their prisoners, that Grant was also re-enforcing Rosecrans. If this latter is true, General Johnston should be moving either to Bragg or to General Rosecrans' lines.
I have informed General Sam. Jones that if he can advance and operate advantageously, to retain Corse; if not, to return him.
General Imboden reports that 400 of his cavalry returned yesterday from and expedition north of Winchester. They report the railroad too strongly guarded to attack. He reports every bridge in Hampshire with a stronger guard than he can attack successfully. I have repeated my orders to endeavor to break it at some vulnerable point.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, September 29, 1863.
Brigadier General JOHN ECHOLS, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 27th has just been received. I a, aware of the difficulties attaching to your position and fully appreciate them. But though you are badly off in some respects, others are in yet worse strait. At Saltville there are only a few detachments of volunteers. The rest of the garrison is composed mainly of local troops, with the Sixtieth [Virginia] Regiment at Glade Spring in supporting distance.