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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 720 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
November 14, 1862.

Lieutenant General THOMAS J. JACKSON, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 10th instant,* by courier, and telegraphic dispatch of to-day have been received. The withdrawal of the enemy from the Blue Ridge and concentration at Warrenton and Waterloo show, I think, that he has abandoned his former base, and assumed that of the Warrenton and Alexandria Railroad. Your presence, then, in the valley seems to be too distant from his line of operations to affect his movements, should you remain quiescent. If you were able, by a movement through Snicker's gap, to threaten his communication north of Manassas Junction, it would have the effect of recalling him. This, in your condition, would be a hazardous movement, as he could bring a force against you too strong for you to resist, and might intercept your return into the valley. I do not see, then, what good your continuance in the valley will effect beyond the support of your troops. It is true, it may prevent the occupation of Winchester by a portion of the enemy's forces, but, in a military point of view, that would accomplish but little beyond the annoyance of the inhabitants, which is much to be lamented. Your detention there, until the occurrence of bad weather and deep roads, might so break down your command as to render it inefficient for further operations, should they become requisite elsewhere. Your remaining in the valley was base upon the supposition that, by operating upon the flank and rear of the enemy, you might prevent his progress southward, and, so long as you found that this could be effected, I considered it advantageous; but, when this cannot be accomplished, the sooner you make a junction with Longstreet's corps the better. The question now is, whether you can, in the present condition of things, affect the movements of the enemy. He is in a position to move upon Culpeper, using the Orange and Alexandria Railroad as a line of communication, or to march upon Fredericksburg, and establish his base on the Potomac. As you are the best judge of your ability to operate advantageously against him, I have heard of no movement of the enemy as yet below Kelly's for, except a visit of a small party of his cavalry to Fredericksburg, on the 8th, when they charged through the town, but were immediately driven back across the river by our cavalry. General Stuart reports this evening that two brigades of the enemy's infantry are at Jeffersonton. Our cavalry still hold the line of Aestham River to Sperryville. The position of Longstreet's corps remains unchanged since you were last informed.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
November 14, 1862.

Lieutenant General THOMAS J. JACKSON,

Commanding Second Army Corps:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 13th* is received. I regret that the shoes and blankets forwarded by Colonel Corley fell short of your wants. More will be forwarded as soon as they can be obtained. The next supply must be distributed to Longstreet's corps.

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* Not found.

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Page 720 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 2 (Antietam)
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