according to information received at the bureau, will be completed within a week, will afford means of transporting the iron removed form the road in question.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. L. RIVES,
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Numbers 7.
January 22, 1864.
The commanding general considers it due to the army to state that the temporary reduction of rations has been caused by circumstances beyond the control of those charged with its support. Its welfare and comfort are the objects of his constant and earnest solicitude, and no effort has been spared to provide for its wants. It is hoped that the exertions now being made will render the necessity of short duration, but the history of the army has shown that the country can require no sacrifice too great for its patriotic devotion.
Soldiers! You tread with no unequal step the road by which your fathers marched through suffering, privations, and blood to independence. Continue to emulate in the future, as you have in the past, their valor in arms, their patient endurance of hardships, their high resolve to be free, which no trail could shake, no bride seduce, no danger appeal, and be assured that the just God who crowned their efforts with success will, His own good time, send down His blessing upon yours.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, January 23, 1864.
Major General WADE HAMPTON,
Commanding Cavalry Division:
GENERAL: Your letter with regard to recruiting and strengthening your command has been received. I am anxious to do all in my power to effect that object. One brigade has been sent to the valley, as you suggested, and it was hoped there would be a sufficiency of forage for the other two in the counties below the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad. I regret to hear of the absolute deficiency of long forage. To send any of the regiments back to South Carolina is impossible. The official reports from North Carolina state a deficiency of forage on the Roanoke, on account of the freshest last summer. I have, however, written to the Quartermaster-General to make inquiries on the subject.
The only relief which I can propose is to send one of the remaining brigades to Essex and Middlesex, while the other is on duty, or a force equal to the strength of one brigade.
[Would?] it answer to send two regiments of the North Carolina brigade to that State and two regiments of Butler's brigade to Middlesex and Essex, and alternate with these from the remaining regiments of the two brigades?
With reference to strengthening your command force other depart-