that is all that I designed to convey in my indorsement; and I do not think that a remark applied to a few men of large estates can justly be construed as applying to the people of that region in which those few happen to reside.
I certainly never intended to throw any imputation on the people of any portion of your State, a State which has sent forth so many troops and contributed so largely to the defense of our common country, and especially of this my native State.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
April 2, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I believe General Burnside with his corps has gone to Kentucky. Before leaving Newport News, it was reported that re-enforcements were forwarded to Suffolk. This information was derived from persons from Norfolk, who stated that they saw troops passing through that city. Reports from General Longstreet up to the 30th ultimo state that his corps, on abandoning Newport News, sailed into North Carolina.
All the reports from our scouts on the Potomac indicate that General Hooker's army has not been diminished, and is prepared to cross the Rappahannock as soon as the weather permits. Various days have been specified for him to advance, but that been prevented by the occurrence of storms. The 17th ultimo was one of the days stated, and on the 22nd three days' rations had been cooked and placed in the haversacks of the men. Their lines are so closely guarded that it is difficult to penetrate them. Their pickets are placed within sight of each other, with dismounted men in the intervals. One of the citizens of Stafford, who has been imprisoned at Aquia Creek for nearly four weeks, was liberated on the 26th ultimo. He states that during that time no troops were sent from General Hooker's army, but that some re-enforcements were received. I have apprehended, from the zealous manner of guarding their lines, and the systematic propagation of reports of an intended advance of their armies on the Rappahannock and Blackwater, that their object is to deceive us, and that they may, while intending to act on the defensive, have re-enforced other points for offensive operations, but I have no means of ascertaining the truth of my suspicions until we are able to make some aggressive movements. It was with this view that General Fitz. Lee was ordered some time since to penetrate General Hooker's lines, and from his report I judged that his whole army was then in position. When the roads permit of our moving, unless, in the meantime, General Hooker takes the aggressive, I propose to make a blow at Milroy, which I think will draw General Hooker out, or at least prevent further re-enforcements being sent to the west. With the same view, I have wished General Longstreet to take the aggressive in North Carolina when the opportunity offers, but he considers himself too weak, and unable sufficiently to occupy the country for drawing out supplies unless he is re-enforced by the other divisions of his corps. If he can obtain all the provisions in the invaded districts, it will be of great benefit to us, and they may become necessary; otherwise, as long as the enemy remains on the defensive, I see but little good he can accomplish even with all his