depot is being established at Mount Jackson. From that point I hope to be able to move the stores in any direction required on good roads..
Shall I leave the valley and cross the Blue Ridge, if necessary for the purpose of keeping between you and the enemy? If I go up the Sourth Branch of the Shenandoah from Front Royal, the enemy may march direct from Front Royal to Culpeper Court-House on a good road, and thus get between us, and, owing to the good condition of the road via New Market, he might get to Luray before I could, and thus cut off my escape by having possession of both ends of the road connecting Front Royal and Luray. So I am of the opinion that I had better follow the Valley turnpike towards New Market, unless you design me to cross the Blue Ridge via Front Royal, in which event please let me know at once, as my supplies should be sent on towards Luray at once from Mount Jackson, as they would be in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy, and my hospital which is being established at Woodstock should be removed..
If you will examine the roads leading from the valley across the Blue Ridge you will see the difficulty of keeping between you and the enemy and at the same time opposing his advance along the valley. For instance, if I fall back towards Front Royal or Strasburg, he might cross at Berry's Ferry; if pass Front Royal, he may move from that point on Culpeper Court-House; if I pass New Market, he may move either to Culpeper Court-House or Gordonsville. I will keep you advised of the movements of the enemy, and be in readiness to move my command promptly in any direction that you may indicate. If the enemy take possession of Berryville, I will at once have all the boats at Castleman's Ferry destroyed..
From what I learn, the present strength of the enemy in Martinsburg is about 4,500, and a large cavalry force is said to be coming from Williamsport..
T. J. JACKSON..
Centreville, March 3, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS:.
Mr. PRESIDENT: I respectfully submit three notes from Major-General Jackson and one from Brigadier-General Hill for the information they contain of the enemy.*
Your orders for moving cannot be executed now an account of the condition of the roads and streams. The removal of public property goes on with painful slowness, because, as the officers employed in it report, sufficient number of cars and engines cannot be had. It is evident that a large quantity of it must be sacrificed or your instructions not observed. I shall adhere to them as closely as possible..
In conversation with you and before the Cabinet I did not exaggerate the difficulties of marching in this region. The suffering and sickness which would be produced can hardly be exaggerated..
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,.
J. E. JOHNSTON,.
Colonel Myers will read and report whether any increase can be made to the number of cars and engines..
*Inclosures not found..