be but temporary. If we cannot advance into Maryland, I hope to draw him into the valley, where think we can operate to advantage, and at least have the benefit of the bountiful grain crops of this season. I hear of no conscripts coming on from the South to fill up our skeleton regiments, nor do I understand that you have been able to increase your force in front of Richmond. If I felt sure of its safety, I could operate more boldly and advantageously.
The enemy has suffered from straggling as well as ourselves (I believe to a greater extent), but his numbers are so great he can afford it; we cannot. He seems to be massing his troops on the left bank of the Potomac, and yesterday there were indications of his moving down toward Harper's Ferry. Two brigades were reported to have crossed over there yesterday, and should he cross in force to that point it may oblige me to take a position between Winchester and the Blue Ridge.
We have been able to gather some iron for the use of the army at Martinsburg, and if the rails could be removed from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad through the valley and transported to Richmond it might be of benefit to the service, but I have no means of doing it. I am destroying the railroad bridges within my reach, but the system adopted by the enemy of repair and substitution of trestle-work for permanent bridges is so perfect that I fear it will only cause a delay of a few days in the operations of the road. The iron viaduct over the Monocacy was destroyed when be a wooden trestle.
I feel fully assured that everything in your power will be done to improve and strengthen our rear, and in that way you will accomplish the greatest good to the army.
In the recent military operations in Maryland I see no mention of Heintzelman's corps. It is possible that he may have re-enforced the troops at Suffolk and Williamsburg, which you allude to.
I am, most respectfully, yours,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, VA., September 24, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War:
SIR: Having just returned from the country of Prince William, and having been in Fauquier and the contiguous counties, I will state, as the result of what I saw and of what I heard from intelligent citizens of those counties, that there are in them 20,000 tons of hay at least, sufficient for 20,000 horses for six months, and 250,000 bushels of wheat, 8,000,000 of rations at least, both disposable without injury to the citizens. It has been suggested to me that you ought to be made acquainted with these facts, and hence the liberty I take in addressing you on the subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. S. EWELL.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Camp on the Opequon, near Smoketown, September 25, 1862.
General W. W. LORING,
Commanding Army of Kanawha Valley:
GENERAL: Allow me to congratulate you upon the success of your operations in Kanawha Valley, and to express my admiration of the
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