War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1206 N. AND SE. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

February 6, 1865.

Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR, Richmond:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3rd instant with reference to the management of the contraband trade. I thank you for the directions you have given to prevent interference with the traffic, but beg leave to say that I did not undertake to regulate it except under authority derived from the Department last summer. I understood from several communications received that it was your wish that it should be controlled by me within the limits of my command, and all that i have done has been done under that impression. I believe that if left in the hands of intelligent and experienced men, who know from personal observation on the spot all its practical difficulties, it can be made much more useful than by any regulations framed without such familiarity with its details. It is for this reason, confirmed by experience, that I advised that no interference be permitted.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

February 6, 1865.

General S. COOPER:

The enemy moved in strong force yesterday to Hatcher's Run. Part of his infantry, with Gregg's cavalry, crossed and proceeded on the Vaughan road-the infantry to Cat-tail Creek, the cavalry to Dinwiddie Court-House, where its advance encountered a portion of our cavalry and retired. In the afternoon parts of Hill's and Gordon's troops demonstrated against the enemy on the left of Hatcher's Run, near Armstrong's Mill. finding him entrenched they were withdrawn after dark. during the night the force that had advanced beyond the creek returned to it and were reported to be recrossing. This morning Pegram's division moved down the right bank of the creek to reconnoiter, when it was vigorously attacked. The battle was obstinately contested several hours, but General Pegram being killed, while bravely encouraging his men, and Colonel Hoffman wounded, some confusion occurred, and the division was pressed back to its original position. Evans' division, ordered by General Gordon to support Pegram, charged the enemy, forced him back, but was in turn compelled to retire. Mahone's division arriving, enemy was driven rapidly to his defenses on Hatcher's Run. Our loss is reported to be small; that of the enemy not supposed great.

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,

February 6, 1865.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding:

No indications of a movement on this side other than reported to you on Saturday. I do not think it would be safe to send any troops from this side.

J. LONGSTREET,

Lieutenant-General.