Colonel Ives, who some time since gave his attention to the obstruction of rivers in North Carolina, informs me that torpedoes are in the course of construction, and it is intended, as soon as any are ready, to place them in the Roanoke River. He says, however, a difficulty has been encountered in the want of a proper officer to take charge of laying them. He will inquire what has been done, and is doing, in relation to works of defense at Weldon and other vulnerable points on the railroad. The works some time since commenced at Weldon were too extensive for a small force, and we could not expect to keep a large garrison there.
The progress of the Danville and Greensborough Railroad, if recent promises are fulfilled, should be more rapid hereafter than heretofore.
No recent intelligence from Charleston of importance, and no indication of any withdrawal of troops by the enemy. I received private information that 30,000 troops were about to be shipped from the North to go southward. Those you mention as coming up to General Meade may be from New York, and if so are new levies mainly. I deeply regret your want of an adequate force to avail yourself of the opportunity afforded by the present condition of the enemy, but hope before he is prepared to attack that you will be re-enforced. Like the people generally, I feel secure in the confidence you and your army inspire; that, in the meantime, nothing worse can befall us than a temporary withdrawal to a more interior line.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
September 21, 1863.
General J. D. IMBODEN,
GENERAL: General Lee directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th instant, and say that he is gratified to learn that injustice has been done to Major Gilmor and his command. He says that he considers it necessary that every means should be used to capture or destroy the lawless men who have brought discredit upon the army. The interests of the cause and the character of our troops, particularly that of Major Gilmor's command, require that these deserters be arrested or destroyed, and a stop put to their marauding. The general desires that you will instruct your officers and men to take them whenever they can, dead or alive. They must be exterminated, and every one who comes across them must take or shoot them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, and Aide-de-Camp.
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, No. 237. September 21, 1863.
I. Brigadier General A. Perrin, Provisional Army, C. S., will report to Lieutenant General A. P. Hill, commanding Third Corps, Army of Northern