conscripts, convalescents, and stragglers per diem from Richmond alone, and you will, no doubt, receive men from other quarters. This supply will keep your army up to its strength, unless the loss exceed anything that you have experienced yet. I see from your return of the 30th ultimo that your strength cannot now be much short of its standard when you left Richmond.
We are making great exertions to clothe the army, and have already succeeded in getting in a supply nearly sufficient for the winter. If a small portion of the clothing contracted to be delivered shall be successfully run in, the army will be well supplied. Shoes are the most difficult article to procure, but we have hopes of getting a stock before the winter sets in.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Camp near Winchester, Va., October 8, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: Since the army has remained in this position, all the wounded resulting from the battles at Manassas that were sent west of the mountains, and those that were able to be transported from the battle-fields in Maryland, and such as had been injured in the smaller conflicts on the line of the Potomac, have been sent from Winchester to Staunton. The medical director reports that the whole number is about 4,500. He also states that about an equal number of sick from this army are now accumulated in Winchester, and they are principally, if not altogether, the conscripts and recruits that have joined since we have been stationary. They are afflicted with measles, camp fever, &c. The medical director thinks that all the conscripts we have received are thus afflicted, so that, instead of being an advantage to us, they are an element of weakness, a burden. I think, therefore, that it would be better that the conscripts be assembled in camps of instructions, so that they may pass through these investable diseases, and become a little inured to camp life. I recommend, therefore, that, except such as can be collected from these border counties, and which can only be controlled by the presence of the army, no more conscripts be sent up for the present. The sick that have been captured and paroled by the enemy at Leesburg, Middleburg, Aldie, and Shepherdstown are principally composed of stragglers who have congregated at these places for repose and refreshment. From all these points all the wounded and sick were transported before they were exposed to capture, except such as could not bear transportation, and had to be left fate, and the result is that we have to exchange prisoners of war to release men who have done us no service.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
OCTOBER 14, 1862.
Send copy to Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Shields, and direct him to suspend the sending forward of conscripts who have not had the measles or mumps.
G. W. R.
42 R R-VOL XIX, PT II