Please inform me whether you can provide the materials, and to what extent. I trust that no efforts will be spared to develop our own resources of supply, as a further dependence upon those from abroad can result in nothing but increased suffering and want.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HDQRS. CAV. CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VA.,
January 1`8, 1864.
Major General FITZHUGH LEE,
Commanding Cavalry Division:
GENERAL: General Stuart directs me to say that he desires you to send the Ninth Virginia Cavalry at once to Essex or Middlesex County, to be accompanied by the quartermaster and commissary of the brigade, who will establish arrangements for obtaining supplies of beef, bacon, and other commissary stores from Richmond County and the other counties of the Northern Neck, collecting these stores in as large quantities as possible, with a view to distribution to other commands.
You will instruct the colonel of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry to ascertain what are the capabilities of the counties of Essex and Middlesex to sustain, in addition to his own regiment, the other two regiments of that brigade, and report the result of his investigation to you as early as possible. Direct him to use every necessary means to maintain the discipline of his command, and urge him to efforts to increase the numbers of his regiments by recruits, bringing into service all men whom he can get who are rendered liable to military service by recent acts of Congress. Certain arrangement must be made to pay all expenses incurred by the presence of the troops both at their present encampment and in Essex County, so that no accounts may remain unsettled when the troops move from their encampments. Pending the report of Colonel Beale in reference to the quantity of supplies to be procured in Essex County, it is contemplated to send the Tenth and Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry across the James River to Cumberland County. In reference to this last and to General Wickham's brigade General Stuart will send you further instructions. These arrangements are made in accordance with suggestions made by you in an interview with General Stuart on yesterday.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. B. McCLELLAN,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS, January 18, 1864.
Lieutenant General R. S. EVELL,
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 15th, transmitting a communication to you from the Secretary of War, with your reply. I am glad to hear that you now experience no inconvenience from your injury, and hope you may continue to feel none.