presence of the troops in that region be felt, and should the enemy move up the Potomac, leaving his capital uncovered, that the cavalry cross the Potomac, if practicable, east of the Blue Ridge. Should the enemy's cavalry be concentrated in the Valley, ours must meet it, if it cannot cause its withdrawal by other operations. Specific instructions will be given you by General Anderson.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS, August 12, 1864.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I received last night your dispatch of the 11th, giving information of the enemy's movements. I was aware of the departure of a large part of Sheridan's cavalry, and that he had taken command of the Federal forces in the Valley. Torbert's division is the only one that has yet reached that region, and I am no positive whether the whole of the other division have gone or not, though it is so reported. I thought it best, however, to move Hampton's division to Culpeper, and it commenced its march yesterday. W. H. F. Lee's division is retained, and I hope it will be sufficient for the protection of the railroad. If I find that the enemy's cavalry here is superior to ours I will recall some of Hampton's. I have assigned General H. to the command of the cavalry. General Butler, he thinks, is best qualified to command his division; as he does so now by right of seniority I have recommended no charge. The forces opposed to General Early consist of the Sixth and Eighth, two divisions of the Nineteenth, and the Thirteenth Corps; the latter recently arrived from New Orleans. General Early was at Newtown on the 11th, and the enemy, who, for the two previous days had been endeavoring to approach his rear, was apparently moving toward Front Royal. I have directed General Anderson to move toward Thornton's Gap and be governed by circum-stances. General Early reports that General Bradley Johnson's brigade had been surprised in camp near Moorefield and routed, losing four guns. I have directed that if General J. is blame he must be relieved from command. I went up to Howlett's Thursday morning, having heard that the enemy had thrown a body of troops on the neck at Dutch Gap, with a view of endeavoring to drive them off. Their position was about two and a half miles from the battery, and Major Smith reported, from his experience on former occasions, owing to inferior powder, he could not be certain of throwing his shot more than 1,200 yards. I signalled to General Ewell to attack them from his side and to arrange with Captain Mitchell to shell them from his gun-goats. This I hoped would have been done that afternoon, but he could not complete his arrangements until yesterday afternoon, and then had to suspend the attack for an exchange of prisoners previously arranged. The force, I understand, is composed portly of negroes, and that they are engaged in cutting a canal through the neck. What use they will make of it I do not see, unless their object is to turn Pickett's left. I have posted Lieutenant-Colonel Poague's battalion of artillery on the heights of Proctor's Creek, west of Howlett's farm, and will commence