me. I have other plans in view, and it is desirable that I should know as early as possible any other service the Department may have in contemplation for my troops.
May I ask an early answer to this letter?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
March 29, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I received a dispatch yesterday from Brigadier General W. E. Jones, dated the 27th instant, stating that the Ninth Corps (Burnside's), 20,000 strong, started west last Sunday by the Pennsylvania Central and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroads, supposed for Kentucky. General Jones does not say how his information was derived, but I am inclined to think that there is some mistake, as Burnside's corps has been encamped at Newport News, and ought not to have left there without our knowledge. If any troops have been sent west, other than unattached regiments, I think it more probable to have been Sigel's corps of Hooker's army. It has been stated that General Sigel was dissatisfied with his position, and had complamed of never having had a separate command, and it may be that he has been gratified.
On the 19th, one of the scouts north of the Rappahannock reported that he had learned from a person from Alexandria that all the transports and steamers there had been ordered to Aquia Creek; but through all parties were immediately warned and cautioned to be on the alert, I have neither heard of their arrival or departure. Some of my best scouts are absent; one was killed in a skirmish a short time since, two have been captured, and Captain [E. P.] Bryan, of the signal corps, whom I had sent into Maryland to watch the river on that side, was, without my knowledge, by Special Orders, Numbers 20, Paragraph XX, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, ordered to report to General Beauregard in Charleston.
The scouts report that it is very difficult to get within the enemy's lines, as their pickets are posted within 50 steps of each other. These circumstances may account for my getting no information.
I have the honor to be, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, March 29, 1863.
Colonel GEORGE S. PATTON,
Commanding Twenty-second Virginia Volunteers:
COLONEL: I wish you to make, without delay, all necessary preparations to move your regiment on an expedition which it is in contemplation to make within about ten days. The regiment will move without tents, with only such cooking utensils as are absolutely necessary, with rations for seven days, and 60 rounds of ammunition.
In the meantime I wish you to procure and communicate to me without delay full information in regard to the condition of the roads from Lewisburg, through Pocahontas, to Huttonsville, the condition of the