I am very much gratified at the thorough manner in which your work in that line has been done. General Kelley`s force at New Creek, I hope, is exaggerated, or that at any rate you will be able to disperse it in some way. I am also gratified at the cattle and horses that you have already captured for the use of the army, and hope that your expectations of obtaining similar supplies will be realized. They are not only important but essential, and I request that you will do all in your power to obtain all you can. At this time it is impossible to send a mounted brigade to your assistance, as the whole of the cavalry are required to watch the enemy and guard our movements east of the Blue Ridge and in Maryland. Should you find an opportunity, you can yourself advance north of the Potomac, and keep on the left of this army in its advance into Pennsylvania, but you must repress all marauding, take only the supplies necessary for your army, animals and provisions through your regular staff officers, who will account for the same, and give receipts to the owners, stating the kind, quantity, and estimated value of the articles received, the valuation to be made according to the market price in the country where the property is taken. I desire you will destroy all my letters to you after perusal (having impressed on your memory their main points), to prevent the possibility of their falling into the hands of the enemy.
Very respectfully, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
BERRYVILLE, June 20, 1863.
General SAMUEL JONES,
Commanding, &c., Dublin, Va.:
GENERAL: General Milroy has been driven out of Winchester and Martinsburg with a loss of about 4, 000 prisoners, thirty pieces of cannon, a large wagon train, &c., and has crossed the Potomac, occupying with the rest of his troops Maryland Heights, retaining a mere picket in Harper`s Ferry.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad has been cut by our cavalry east of the Point of Rocks, and General Imboden has destroyed the important bridges over the Little Cacapon, Patterson`s Creek, North and South Branches of the Potomac, &c., and the tanks, depots, engines, &c., from Cacapon to Cumberland, included.
General Hooker has abandoned the line of the Rappahannock, and fallen back toward the Potomac.
General Ewell`s corps is in Maryland, and his advanced cavalry occupies Chambersburg.
I think the present offers to you a favorable time to threaten Western Virginia, and, if circumstances favor, you might convert the threat into a real attack. A more favorable opportunity will probably not occur during the war, and, if you can accomplish nothing else, you may at least prevent the troops in that region from being sent to re-enforce other points.
I would recommend, therefore, that you unite all your available forces, and strike at some vulnerable point.
Wishing you great success, I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,