HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, January 28, 1864.
General A. ELZEY,
GENERAL: Your dispatch of last night mentions having received reliable information from Ivor Station of the movements of the enemy from Newport News toward Williamsburg and of the landing of troops at Yorktown.
I do not see how men in that quarter can know what is going on north of James River, except form hearsay or reports of citizens, which are very uncertain. The force int hat quarter must be very small and inefficient. As early as the 21st instant a scout from Hampton's division reported that three regiments negro infantry landed at Yorktown on the preceding Monday, and one regiment negro infantry and one regiment white cavalry landed at Gloucester Point on the 20th; that a great many of their men had gone off on furlough; that there was no truth in the report of their advancing some days previous, and that he was closely watching them. I have not heard from him since. You must keep men right in the front of the enemy, never losing sight of them, if you wish to know what they are doing. Your troops must be vigilant and bold, retarding any advance, and forcing them to discover their force, then you can make arrangements to oppose them.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS, January 28, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. Army:
GENERAL: The interference of the War Department with the strong arm of authority is absolutely necessary to secure to the regiments of this command from South Carolina and Georgia the recruits which they imperatively need.
While regiments serving within the limits of those States are swelling their numbers to over 1,000 each, their gallant comrades in Virginia, equally entitled to the benefits of the conscript law, are dwindling to a mere handful for want of recruits. I understand that some steps have been taken to correct this evil, but unless they are vigorous and immediately no good will result.
I recommend that Brigadier-General Butler, now convalescent from his wounds in South Carolina, be empowered and directed without delay to inspect those regiments, so much beyond the proper proportion, and take out from their numbers by lot or other fair
process a sufficient number to increase the First and Second South Carolina Cavalry Regiments, now on duty with this command, to the proper proportions, and that Major King, now on leave on absence in Georgia, be directed to do the same with reference to the Georgia commands in this corps and the cavalry regiments serving in that State; these two officers to organize these recruits and have them properly conducted to their new commands.
Teh George commands in this corps consist of the Cobb Legion and Phillips Legion Cavalry.