is certainly an immediate advance on Richmond, and this is certainly their most direct and available route, and it will be a thousand times better for us to concentrate there at once and be prepared to me them in a general engagement than to be separated as we are, and liable to to be beaten and demoralized in detail. The idea of deserting this noble and generous people grieves my heart beyond measure, and I am protect them. Whiting and my left have together about 15,000 men, and it is for you, my dear general, who have all the lights before you, to say whether we shall fight the enemy. If so, I will make immediate preparations to meet them about the Potomac Run, some 5 miles north of here..
I send this by my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Hinsdale, and earnestly request that you will answer it either by telegraph or through him by special train this evening..
RICHMOND, VA., March 15, 1862.
Brigadier General EDWARD JOHNSON,.
Commanding, &c., Monterey, Va.:
GENERAL: I inclose authority from the governor of Virginia to call out the militia of the counties of Highland, Pendleton, and Pocahontas, that you may be enabled to re-enforce your command when necessary..
Please send me a report of its present strength at your earliest convenience, and inform me what may be the prospect of calling to your aid volunteers from the country in which you are operating. It will depend upon your strength and that of the enemy opposed to you what plan of operations can be adopted in the ensuing campaign, and on this point I request your views and opinions, and as to the best line of defense you can take and hold so as to cover the approaches to Staunton..
I am, &c.,.
R. E. LEE,.
RAPPAHANNOCK BRIDGE, March 15, 1862-10.40 a. m..
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have just received the dispatches by Captain Randolph, duplicates of which were delivered yesterday by a courier, who bore a brief reply to General Holmes..
The depot at Fredericksburg, unless very small, should be broken up. A point well in rear should be chosen..
It was my intention in falling back to take a line on which the two bodies of troops could readily unite against the body of the enemy operating against either. The Government wishes us to be within reach, also, of the troops on the east and southeast of Richmond. the large force in the valley and the good roads hence to Culpeper Court-House and Gordonsville make it not impossible that McClellan, who seems not to value time especially, may repair this railroad and advance upon both routes, uniting the valley troops with his own. On every account we must be within supporting distance of each other. I can't understand why you should fight with the Rappahannock in your rear. You should, it seems to me, be on its south side. I cannot join you on the north side without crossing at Fredericksburg..
Stuart reported last night the enemy in heavy force at Cedar Run, 12.