HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
April 2, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET,
Commanding Corps, Petersburg, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letters of 29th and 30th ultimo have been received. I fear that the enemy, by propagation of consistent falsehood and persistent reports of intended advance, are deceiving us, and that while acting on the defensive on the Rappahannock and Blackwater they may be re-enforcing their armies west, with a view to offensive operations. I do not think Burnside's corps is in North Carolina but in Kentucky; all the information that I get confirms the truth of this. General Burnside reached Cincinnati on the 24th and has assumed command of the Department of the Ohio. His corps is intended to operate in Kentucky, where their papers state that a large rebel force is expected. It may be intended, however, that it shall re-enforce Rosecrans. You are, at any rate, relieved of half the force that has been opposed to you. You will therefore be strong enough to make any movement that you may consider advisable; but, as stated in former letters, so long as the enemy choose to remain on the defensive and covered by their intrenchments and floating batteries I fear you can accomplish but little, except to draw provisions from the invaded districts. If you can accomplish this it will be of positive benefit. I leave the whole matter to your good judgment. If your troops cannot be advantageously employed in North Carolina they will be very useful here, for unless General Hooker soon takes the aggressive I must endeavor to operate to draw him out. All the reports of our scouts and citizens north of the Rappahannock show that they are impressed with the belief that he will advance against us so soon as the weather and roads permit. Several periods in the past month were appointed by him to advance, and in every case he was prevented by storms.
I am, with great respect, very truly, yours,
R. E. LEE,
Greenville, N. C., April 2, 1863-8 p. m.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding at Kinston, N. C.:
GENERAL: Your dispatch to General Pettigrew and myself has been received. I will move to Hookerton to-morrow morning. The rifle 4.63-inch and 32-pounder gun and ammunition, and a good deal of other ammunition, I understood, had been removed to Tarborough before my arrival here. I have sent an officer to Tarborough to remove the rifle gun to Falkland; the 32-pounder I presume you prefer having at Tarborough. Colonel Brabble is at Taft's Cross-Roads with two pieces of [J. B.] Starrs' battery. I have directed him to move to this point at daybreak. He will be left here, and I would prefer his keeping the tow pieces of artillery with him until the rifle gun is in position. If you do not object to it I think it would be well for him to keep these pieces with him as long as he remains. I will leave them until I hear from you. Please let me know in your next if he can keep them. The rifle gun will be in position to-morrow evening, Major Haskell thinks. Upon the receipt of your three notes directing me to be ready to move to the assistance of General Ransom I sent the different battery commanders to examine the ammunition here and was informed that it was not suited