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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 2 (Antietam)
Page 626 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

manner in which you have driven the enemy from a country they have so long occupied. I hope you will be able to revive the dormant loyalty of the inhabitants, and to swell your ranks to the maximum authorized by law. Conscripts might then be organized temporarily into new companies, officered and attached to your old regiment, or formed into new until they could be properly distributed among existing regiments from the State. I have heard with pleasure of your driving the enemy from Charleston, and that you had turned your steps toward Ravenswood. Unless you have some special object to accomplish on the Ohio, I fear that little good will result from your march to that river. Wheeling is the only point whose occupation would afford us advantage, and that, I fear, is beyond your reach. There clothing, shoes, &c., for your army could be obtained. Great benefit would be derived if you could permanently destroy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, by taking down the Monongahela Valley from Weston, or any other point where it may be convenient to you to strike it, and destroy the bridges near it may be convenient to you to strike it, and destroy the bridges near it may be convenient to you to strike it, and destroy the bridges near Clarksburg and Fairmont, or, what would be better, blowing up the tunnels in their vicinity; both branches of the road would be disabled and the travel interrupted for the whole winter. You could then continue yours course (If you thought proper) through Morgantown into Washington County, Pennsylvania, and supply your army with everything it wants. Should you be able to reach Pennsylvania, I hope you will collect all the horses within your reach, both for your army and the service generally. Some of the counties through which you will pass have been considered loyal to the Confederacy, and I will particularize Marion, in which Fairmont is situated. The destruction of the bridge over Cheat River and the trestle-work over that mountain would prevent the use of the road for a long time.

This army in encamped on the Opequon, below martinsburg, having returned from its expedition into maryland. McClellan's army is on the north bank of the Potomac, stretching from Hagerstown to Harper's Ferry. I hope to be able to retain them on the Potomac, or, if they cross, to draw them up the valley. It will depend upon circumstances whether we will be able to recross into maryland, but, should you operate down the potomac, endeavor to keep yourself advised of the movements of this army and notify me of your position. Probably a combined movement into Pennsylvania may be concerted. I hope your operations may be crowned with success until the close of the campaign.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Camp on the Opequon, near Smoketown, September 25, 1862.

His Excellency President DAVIS, Richmond, Va.:

Mr. PRESIDENT: Since my letter of the 23rd instant, the enemy has been quiet. He is in occupation of Harper's Ferry, and has troops posted both on the Maryland and Loudoun Heights. I presume he will reconstruct the railroad bridge over the Potomac, and I see it stated in the Baltimore papers that a new bridge over the Monocacy has been built. When the railroad is open to Harper's Ferry he may possibly advance up the valley, where I shall endeavor to occupy and detain him.

When I withdrew from Sharpsburg into Virginia, it was my intention to recross the Potomac at Williamsport, and move upon hagerstown, but the condition of the army prevented; nor is it yet strong enough to


Page 626 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 2 (Antietam)
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