advance advantageously. Some of the stragglers have been gathered in, but many have wandered to a distance, feigning sickness, wounds, &c., deceiving the guards and evading the scouts. many of them will not stop until they reach their distant homes.
In a military point of view, the best move, in my opinion, the army could make would be to advance upon Hagerstown and endeavor to defeat the enemy at that point. I would not hesitate to make it even with our diminished number, did the army exhibit its former temper and condition; but, as far as I am able to judge, the hazard would be great and a reverse disastrous. I am, therefore, led to pause.
I have written to General Loring suggesting the advantages, since the enemy has been driven from the Kanawha Valley, of proceeding down the Monongahela Valley, breaking up the railroad in the vicinity of Clarksburg, Fairmont, Cheat River, &c., and, should opportunity offer, of continuing his route into Pennsylvania and collecting horses and other necessaries for the army generally. I have told him to keep me advised of his movement should he undertake the expedition, that the may be co-operation, if practicable, between the two armies.
i am, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Camp on the Opequon, September 25, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to say that it has been reported to him by Dr. Herndon, who is just from Warrenton, that the removal of the wounded and sick from that place had been stopped by order of Dr. Fisher on his arrival there. Only about 400 had been removed, and there are still remaining some 1,400. The commanding general desires that the work of removal shall proceed until all are carried to some place of security, inasmuch as Warrenton is not considered a safe place for them, and is liable to be visited at any time by the enemy's cavalry. There may be some whose condition will not permit their being moved; of this the surgeons will judge. The general instructs me to add that, as the route from Rapidan and Culpeper Court-House is not altogether secure from the raids of the enemy's cavalry, he deems it advisable to forsake that route of communication and adopt the one by Staunton, Harrisburg, and down the valley. He wishes this route pursued hereafter, and moreover, that all stores that may be at Culpeper Court-House be removed to Gordonsville or sent around to Staunton, to be drawn from for the use of this army.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. TAYLOR,
Major and Aide-de-Camp.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Charleston, W. Va;, September 26, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: The inclosed letter again exhibits the habits of General Floyd's officers in taking troops from my army. The State Line is performing no service of which I am aware for the defense of the country, and are