a strong infantry picket at Rodger's and Elli's on the other side to-day, and Mountain Run, on the road from Kellyville to Stevensburg, was strongly by infantry, but no move at all on that front. Citizens report at Amissville infantry as well as cavalry. The movements of the enemy about railroad bridge are very open and very deliberate. Kellyville is the place off apparent concentration of the infantry, and I think a move by way of Stevensburg to Rapidan Station more probable than any other. A real advance, when begun, can certainly be ascertained by my present of cavalry in time to give A. P. Hill ample time to withdraw the first night to Cedar Run and the next day across. I assure you, however, that a picked brigade of infantry for skirmishing to report to me, to occupy woods and my center, will save much sacrifice of life in forcing the enemy to develop and give me more cavalry to operate on the flanks. If ordered up, please let one of your staff see to its ammunition, ambulances, and sergeons. I can take care of the brigade if ordinarily good. The Seventeenth Virginia Cavalry is on the Sperryville pike, ten miles from Culpeper, with pickets toward Sperryville and Washington. I have since ordered part to picket at Sperryville. Yesterday 200 of enemy's cavalry went on scout to Washington and returned. I ordered White to look more to the enemy's communications, and I hear he crossed at Snicker's on Wednesday last. The report I expected has not arrived, but if anything more than what I have written, will send if after this. The enemy's movements will be closely watched.
Most respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
RICHMOND, VA., August 2, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia, Culpeper Court-House, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 29th ultimo* and telegram of the 1st instant have been received. I have directed that the most energetic effort should be made to return stragglers to our army and to enroll all who owe service and have heretofore been improperly omitted. depots, &c. Convalescents are being sent up as rapidly as the medical officers advice. I have prepared and amnesty proclamation, and hope it will aid in the efforts to restore stragglers. It will release also a number of those now in confinement. If we can get from the militia and local-defense men a reliable force to garrison Petersburg and other points on the railroad to Wilmington it will enable us to withdraw part of the small force now there. It is painful to contemplate our weakness when you ask for re-enforcements, and I dare not encourage you to count upon the aid to be supplied from here. You may, however, rely upon earnest exertions to meet your wants. The loss of officers in the recent battles must for a time present a difficulty which the arrival of recruits will not remove. Those who have been killed may be replaced, but it is not so with those who have been wounded our captured. In the former case a new organization might be resorted to; in the latter it would hardly be justifiable, at it would displace officers because of a casualty most likely to befall those who are boldest in battle. You are so much better able to judge of the propriety of resuming your
* See VOL. XXVII, Part III, p. 1048.