It is, of course, very important to re-enforce General Bragg's army; but the Department, after anxiously surveying all the resources at command, is unable to find troops at its disposal for that end, unless they can safely be sent from the forces in this department. If two or three brigades, say of Pickett's division, to be united with another that may be possibly made up from General Samuel Jones' command, could be spared, they would be an encouraging re-enforcement to the Army of the West.
It would seem natural that when so large a portion of the troops meant to be guarded against here, as Burnside's division from Newport News, have been withdrawn to the west, they should be met there by a withdrawal of at least a part of our defensive reserves here. I know, however, that your army is largely outnumbered by the enemy in your front, and that it is not unlikely that a movement against you may be made at an early day. I am, therefore, unwilling to send beyond your command any portion even of the forces here without your counsel and approval. I should ask, therefore, your consideration of the subject and the result of your reflections at your earliest convenience.
With high esteem, very respectfully, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, April 6, 1863.
Brigadier General WILLIAM N. PENDLETON,
GENERAL: Your letter of the 3rd instant has been received. I am very fearful that you may be increasing your horses faster than you can forage them. In that event we shall be injured instead of being benfited by the fresh horses. The 230 quartered in Brunswick County ought to have been well provided, and I see no reason why they should have deteriorated. I requested General Chilton to say to you that as soon as the roads are sufficiently improved I thought you might, with advantage, post the artillery in part, if not the whole, about 3 miles west of Guiney's Station, where it would be about equidistant from Port Royal, Fredericksburg, and United States Mine Ford, embracing the limits of the Rappahannock within which an attempt to cross by the enemy may be expected. All the corn forage which now comes on the Richmond and Fredericksburg road could come up to Guiney's, from which you would have to haul it, and your hay will have to be transported in wagons from Beaver Dam. Unless, therefore, the forage can be hauled as described, you will not take the proposed position. But if you can supply yourself with forage, this position would bring you nearer to the Rappahannock, and would be otherwise advantageous. I desire your views on this subject.
Until the artillery officers whose promotions have been recommended are appointed, they cannot be assigned to the battalions. I have not heard of the promotion of Major Kemper, and he is still absent sick. Major Henry was ordered to report to General Hood as chief of artillery of his division, and it is in that way, I presume, that he is in command of this battalion of artillery. I think it will be well to assign him to duty with that battalion with Lieutenant-Colonel Kemper as soon as we receive notice of his promotion.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,