HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
At, Mr. Eggleston`s, on the Grade, July 24, 1863.
GENERAL: I have received your note of 6. 15 p. m. yesterday (Sandy Hook) and your message by Mr. Douglas Lewis. I inclose you a note* received from General Ewell, which looks as if the presence of the enemy at Manassas Gap is of more importance than it appeared to you. I want you to do all in your power to cover the passage of the troops through the mountains, and also gain what information you can as regards the advance of the enemy. A scout yesterday informed me that the enemy was running the trains as far as White plains, and citizens informed him that they were advancing toward Rappahannock Station. You had better extend [J. R.] Chambliss, jr., farther down the river, if you find that the enemy is extending that way. General Longstreet`s corps moves on this morning to Culpeper Court-House. I hope A. P. Hill will be able to follow. I do not know whether the rain last night has injured the crossings at Gourd Vine Fork and Hazel river, but I left it discretionary with Hill to come that route or by Washington and Sperryville. I shall continue with Longstreet`s corps to-day.
R. E. LEE,
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, july 24, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and inspector general, C. S. Army:
GENERAL: Colonel Wharton, of General Sam. Jones` command, had just reached the Balley before my departure from Winchester. Supposing that General Jones was following, agreeably to the orders from the Department, and the letters I received from him, I advanced Colonel Wharton to Winchester, and instructed General Jones to assume command of the Valley, adding Imboden`s troops to his command. Since crossing the mountains, I have learned from Colonel Wharton that he can hear of no more of General Jones` troops following him, and that the two engineer officers belonging to General Jones` staff, and his baggage wagon, had been ordered back. I infer, therefore, that General jones is not coming to the Valley, and that probably no more of his troops can be spared from their present position. Colonel Wharton has his own regiment, 700 strong, and a battalion 400 strong, making about 1, 100 effective men in all, which will not be sufficient to hold Winchester, aided by Imboden`s troops, should the enemy send a force there equal to that under General Milroy, and if General Jones` destination is changed, I will order him to abandon Winchester. I think it will be necessary to concentrate all the troops we can to oppose the Federal army now massing in front of Centreville, and if Colonel Wharton is not needed with General Jones, he will be very serviceable with this army. Would there be any other available troops, I recommend that they be ordered to join me, and that all convalescents, absentees, &c., be immediately ordered to report with their proper commands.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE.