HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, March 30, 1863.
Colonel J. GORGAS,
Chief of Ordnance, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:
COLONEL: Will you please inform me if it is probable I can procure this spring a few hundred rifles for arming cavalry? Repeated requisitions have been made but not filled, and I do not care to approve and forward others until I know you have them on hand.
I have cavalry under my command which has been in service more than a year, and are now without arms. I should be extremely glad to get 300 rifles immediately.
General Jenkins informed me that he received but 300 Richmond rifles. You informed me on the 6th or 7th instant that 600 had been forwarded to him. Can you not send on the remaining 300?
Very respectfully, &c.,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., March 31, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
GENERAL: Your representations in relation to the diminished rations to which your gallant army has been reduced, and your natural apprehensions of the consequences, have inspired great solicitude as well as sympathy on my part. The subject has been urged on the attention of the Commissary-General, and all possible efforts have been directed to increasing the supplies for the present and improving the prospects for the future. I am satisfied, from my inquiries, that the great difficulty just now is not so much in the want of supplies as of the impediments to their ready transportation and distribution. Our roads have almost defied wagon transportation, and our railroads are daily growing less efficient and serviceable. Still, with these internal difficulties, I am satisfied some want of system or energy diminishes the supplies the railroads ought to afford us, and I have not only urged the agent of the Department in charge of railroad transportation to visit the lines of greatest detention and arrange for more punctuality and promptitude, but have likewise called him and some of the leading presidents to an early conference here.
I am likewise invoking the aid of Congress to enable me to enforce the adoption of more regular schedules, and the employment of more trains in freight transportation.
The effect of these measures, I trust, will be felt at an early day. Meantime I look with hope to the result of successful expeditions into the enemy's country for supplies, and am gratified to learn of the partial success in this way that has attended your late operations in the Valley.
My commissaries assure me that large supplies of wheat and flour, with some of meat, may be obtained from the counties of Fauquier, Rappahannock, and Loudoun, especially the latter, provided only the protection of a moderate detachment of cavalry can be afforded them. They especially urge that Colonel [Thomas T.] Munford, with his cavalry, whose horses are now suffering greatly from want of adequate supplies of forage, should be allowed to go into or toward Loudoun