BERRYVILLE, June 23, 1863.
Brigadier General J. D. IMBODEN, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: General Ewell has forwarded to me your letter of the 20th. I have already expressed to you my great gratification at the thorough manner in which you have destroyed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Cumberland and the Little Cacapon, which I now repeat, and add my thanks for the cattle and sheep you have sent to the Valley. I want you to continue your operations, and make every exertion to collect all the supplies you can. General Ewell, in advancing toward the Susquehanna, will probably have one column on the McConnellsburg road. Should you be able to cross the Potomac, you must keep on his left, giving him information of your presence, and aid in collecting supplies. A general order on this subject I inclose* for your government, which I desire that you cause to be strictly carried out. Upon inquiry, I find that no horse equipments can be obtained in Winchester or elsewhere. Although your force, if mounted, might be temporarily useful, it could not be maintained as a mounted force, and I think a regiment of infantry, supporting your cavalry and artillery, would be much more useful, and could travel nearly as fast in the mountain country as you could daily progress. I see, therefore, no benefit in your obtaining saddles and horse equipments, if it were possible to do so. I hope you will be able to disperse all the militia that you may find on your route, as well as any that may be collecting on the Potomac, and keep all the upper routes open for the return of the army, should circumstances render it necessary or convenient. I do not think, however, that any militia have yet to any extent been assembled on the line of the Potomac.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, June 23, 1863.
His Excellency President DAVIS, Richmond:
Mr. PRESIDENT: The season is now so far advanced as to render it improbable that the enemy will undertake active operations on the Carolina and Georgia coast before the return of frost. This impression is confirmed by the statements contained in Northern papers, that part of General Hunter`s force had gone to re-enforce General Banks, and that Admiral Foote, the successor of Admiral DuPont in the command of the South Atlantic fleet, lies dangerously ill, a circumstance that will tend further to embarrass any designs the enemy may entertain of operating against the cities of the seaboard. Federal papers of the 19th allude to the frequent arrival or departure of troops and munitions at Old Point, and those of the 20th announce the arrival of General Peck and staff in Washington, without indicating the object of his visit, further than it may be connected with the movements just referred to.
At this distance, I can see no benefit to be derived from maintaining a large force on the southern coast during the unhealthy months of the summer and autumn, and I think that a part, at least, of the
* See General Orders, Numbers 72, p. 912.