I hope you will get all your cavalry shod and ready for service, and get your command in full force in the field. I desire you to see what force of the enemy is in the Valley, for, from the reports of General Ewell, I doubt whether any crossed at Front Royal, nor do I anticipate that any permanent force will be sent into the Valley from east of the mountains.
If you find that Generals Kelley and mulligan are still in the neighborhood of Hedgesville, a rapid movement upon Piedmont, or some point higher up the railroad, will be the best means of drawing them west. Colonel Wharton, with his infantry at some point above Strasburg, could prevent any advance up the Valley during your absence.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Numbers 80. July 26, 1863.
All officers and soldiers now absent from this army, who are able to do duty, and not detached on special service, are ordered to return immediately. The commanding general calls upon all soldiers to rejoin their respective regiments at once. To remain at home in Southern soldier. While you proudly boast that you belong to the Army of Northern Virginia, let it not be said that you deserted your comrades in a contest in which everything you hold dear is at stake. The commanding general appeals to the people of the States to send forth every man able to bear arms, to aid the brave soldiers who have so often beaten back our foes to strike a decisive blow for the safety and sanctity of our homes and the independence of our country.
By command of General R. E. Lee:
R. H. CHILTON,
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
July 27, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate State:
Mr. PRESIDENT: Feeling the importance of increasing the aggregate of our armies as rapidly and as much as possible, I beg leave to submit to Your Excellency a few considerations upon the subject.
It does not appear to me that the activity and efficiency of the conscription bureau is as great as it might be. From all that I can learn, the enrolling officers of the different districts and the medical examining officers are natives of the districts in which they operate. Besides this, the purchasing commissaries and quartermasters in the various counties, and at the posts in the interior, are usually assign to duty in their own neighborhood. Thus the enrolling officer has every temptation to be careless and good-natured in the performance of his duty; the number of exemptions given by the medical officers is very great, and the number who are not exempted is again