various points on my route as large a supply of forage as possible. I have to-day received a letter from the quartermaster at Dublin, informing me that up to this time he had only been able to obtain 1,500 only thing, in my opinion, which will protect this region from an invasion is the absolute destitution of the country for so great a distance. They may, as they are able to do with their immense trains, keep themselves supplied from the mouth of Loop Creek, on the Kanawha, up to which point they will now be enabled to come with their boats, the river having risen some 4 feet within the last few days. Should the enemy continue to advance, I should prefer to check them, if possible, on this side of New River; but the impossibility of obtaining supplies, of which I have spoken, and the danger of being intercepted by an approach by Lewisburg, may prevent this. Should Milroy, with the other forces in that section, be able to reach Lewisburg before I would cross New River at Pack's Ferry, I would be in a most dangerous position. I shall do all that I can in the absence of any further instructions to protect the country, although I may be forced to fall back to the Narrows of New River. I should be pleased to receive instructions from the Department.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, October 30, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 26th ultimo*. When I applied for Brigadier-General Pettigrew, I did not know that he was assigned to the command of a brigade. I do not desire that he should be disturbed. I think it better that General [T. L.] Clinghman should remain in North Carolina, where he could probably be of more service than here. Under the circumstances I consider it just and proper that the colonel of Branch's brigade, who has been recommended for promotion, be assigned to the command. I regret to hear that the enemy's forces at Suffolk and Williamsburg are superior to ours, but am glad that you are enabled to restrict to narrower limits than heretofore. Your disposition of the cavalry and infantry on the Rappahannock is judicious, and, I think, will be able to hold the enemy in check. I shall have a brigade of cavalry on his right flank. If necessary, I will move toward the Blue Ridge Mountains, which, I think, will have the effect of stopping any advance from Manassas. I am glad to hear that the defenses around Richmond are progressing. I must again urge their completion at the earliest day possible. The enemy, though crippled by the battles in Maryland, has much ample means at command that he will soon recuperate, and we must be prepared for another invasion of Virginia. Do not be discouraged at the difficulties of introducing order and system in Richmond and the adjacent country. They will disappear before your exertions.
Most respectfully and truly, yours,
R. E. LEE,
44 R R-VOL XIX, PT II