think that your presence in that porion of the valley will not retard or prevent the advance of the enemy east of the Blue Ridge, I wish you to advance with all celerity to unite with Longstreet's corps. You must inform yourself of the routes, prepare provision and forage for the occasion, and lose no time in executing your march when it is commenced. As stated in my previous letter, should you find yourself in danger at any time of being cut off from the route west of the Massanutten Mountains, you must move at once.
I am in hopes that the shoes and blankets forwarded by Colonel Corley from Staunton will be sufficient for your wants.
I will endeavor to have the signal line through Thornton's Gap extended to these headquarters, but we are very deficient in men.
I have heard of no change in the disposition of the forces of the enemy since I wrote yesterday, except that their cavalry has retired form Washington, and the route through Chester Gap is supposed to be open. General Stuart, who drove the enemy to-day the other side of Amissville, reports having seen large encampments beyond Warrenton.
I have the honor to be, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
November 10, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: From my last report it appears that General McClellan has massed his army on the Manassas Gap Railroad, in the vicinity of Piedmont. He withdrew his force form Snicker's Gap and moved it toward Middleburg. The force at Paris and Upperville was likewise withdrawn to the Manassas Railroad. His cavalry is advanced to the line of the Rappahannock. General A. P. Hill, finding Snicker's Gap open, advanced his pickets to Snickersville, where they were by last reports, and on that occasion Major White, with his battalion of cavalry, captured 104 prisoners and some ambulances and wagons loaded with stores. General D. H. Hill's division is in the forks of the Shenandoah, guarding the passes in that direction. As long as General Jackson can operate with safety, and secure his retirement west of the Massanutten Mountains, I think it advantageous that he should be in position to threaten the enemy's flank and rear, and thus prevent his advance southward on the east side of the Blue Ridge. General Jackson has been, directed accordingly, and, should the enemy descend into the valley, General Longstreet will attack his rear, and cut off his communications. The enemy, apparently, is so strong in numbers that I think to preferable to attempt to baffle his designs by maneuvering, rather without too great risk and loss would require more than double our present numbers.
I be, if possible, that shoes and blankets be sent to me at Gordonsville. Those sent to Staunton will not be more than are required by General Jackson.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,