Cutts was informed by many gentlemen that there were enough beef-cattle in Florida to supply our entire forces for two years. From his own personal observation he knows that there are large stocks of cattle in Eastern and Southern Florida. On his recent visit, he saw one stockraiser who had from 700 to 1,000 head of beef-cattle for sale; another, who had 1,000. There are also large herds of cattle in Western Florida.
In the lower counties of Georgia, adjoining Florida, large numbers of beef-cattle could be collected. In the sections referred to, the grazing is now fine, and the cattle will soon be in good condition. They could be driven to Virginia, through the region at the mountains, or to any other point.
In Georgia, especially the southern part of the State, there are supplies of surplus bacon in the hands of nearly all the planters. Many express a willingness to divide with the army so long as they have a pound. I think that something may be accomplished by agents who know the people and the country, and who are themselves well known.
Now that Florida has been evacuated by the enemy, General [Joseph] Finegan, near Jacksonville, and General [Howell] Cobb, near Quincy, may give us material aid by turning their attention to collecting supplies in Florida and Southern Georgia, and forwarding them to the armies at other points. If we do not get this subsistence out from Florida, it will almost certainly fall into the hands of the enemy.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, April 20, 1863.
Major General J. E. B. STUART,
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 19th, with inclosure scented to him the insufficiency of the cavalry of this army, and have requested that it be re-enforced. I have repeated the request to-day. I have stated the large amount of cavalry opposed to you, how you are situated, and asked that a brigade from North Carolina and Jenkins' brigade be ordered to join you.
I have also requested that Colonel Clanton's cavalry, from Alabama, and Colonel Anderson's regiment, from Georgia, be ordered to this army.
Captain [William G.] Brawner's company has been ordered, as you recommended, to join Major Mosby, or you might keep him with you, and order Mosby to draw closer to you and watch your left flank. I hope Hampton will soon join you. But I do not see how you are to keep the cavalry together before the grazing season opens.
I wrote you yesterday the condition of things here. There has been no change. I see no evidence of the enemy re-enforced and drawn back from the river, with officers constantly present with them, to prevent any communication with our men.
The signal corps report sailing vessels and steamers descending the Potomac in greater numbers than usual, but they have not been able to discern any troops on board.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,