I inclose a note from a correspondent in Washington,* who last winter forwarded information to General Johnston. It will show you his opinion of the condition of affair.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 21, 1863.
Brigadier General W. E. JONES,
Commanding Valley District:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 14th instant, and the report of Captain Richardson with regard to supplies in the upper part of the valley. The evacuation of Moorefield and the presence of the enemy at Front Royal would look as if he was merely changing his position, and drawing nearer to his army east of the Blue Ridge. It will be very desirable if you can by concentrating you forces, drive him out of the valley altogether. It was with this view that, I desired to know what supply of provisions you could rely upon, that, if circumstances permitted, i could throw other troops into the valley. if his force at Front Royal is not too large, endeavor to cut it off. If superior to yours, see if you cannot break up its line of communication with your cavalry, or even drive them out of Winchester. General Burnside's army is apparently now making some moments toward the Upper Rappahannock. Possibly Milroy may attempt to join him. If he does, precipitate yourself upon his rear, and follow him east of the mountains, and place yourself in communication with General Hampton and this army.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, VA., January 21, 1863.
Colonel J. T. ANDERSON,
Chairman of Military Committee:
SIR: In compliance with your request this morning in committee, I now state such facts and views connected with the troops under my command and the defense of the country lying west of the Allegheny Mountains as are likely to prove beneficial in considering the subject of the State line and the local defenses of the west. i undertook the task of raising the force authorized by the act of the 17 the of May last because I did not feel at liberty, under all the circumstances, to decline it, although I fully understood the almost insurmountable difficulties that stood in the way if its accomplishment. By dint of constat labor and unremitted exertion, both of myself and those assisting me a force numbering nearly 4,000 men has been enrolled in the State service. As soon as i raised a sufficient number of men to penetrate the country occupied by the enemy, I did so; and although active means were resorted to to discourage, and, indeed, to prevent my recruiting, the force increased rapidly. We were enable by October to advance far into the country overrun by the enemy, and to hold it. We found as we approached toward the Ohio very formidable and numerous organizations of men,
* Not found.