He will be joined by some young officers who have been occupied in that country for some time, and I hope a serviceable map of the roads, &c., can be formed by the spring, which may aid in future operations. I would recommend, if not already done, that similar examinations on the ranges west be made. I would recommend also that the people be organized for the defense of the country into the regular service, and that existing organizations be filled rather than new ones created; that all deserters be sent to their proper commands and all cowards punished. I wish I could spare you some troops or aid you in any way, but the enemy in my front is active and increasing and i require all I have.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., February 2, 1864.
Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
I respectfully submit copies of the correspondence of General W. H. C. Whiting, relative to the defenses of Wilmington, N. C.,* prepared with a view to a response to the accompanying resolution of the House of Representatives of the 31st December, 1863. It embraces letters to the Secretary of War, Adjutant and Inspector General, and superior officers, Generals Hill and Longstreet, from the 28th January to the 21st December, 1863.
One important communication, which was inclosed in the note of March 19, 1863 (p. 12), is not in the Department. It consisted of a description of the defenses of Wilmington, and was accompanied by maps. This "memoir," as General Whiting called it, was referred by you to the President on the 23rd of March, 1863, and I do not find that it has been returned. I suppose, and in that Mr. Harrison concurs, that the President may have desired to keep it by him for reference. I have twice telegraphed to General Whiting requesting a copy of it, once near two weeks and again a week ago, but have not hard form him. With this explanation I submit the copy as it is.
R. C. KEAN,
Chief of Bureau of War.
MILL CREEK, February 2, 1864.
[General J. A. EARLY:]
GENERAL: I will be in camp to-morrow morning. I destroyed three important bridges on the railroad this morning-the Patterson's Creek, the bridge over the Potomac, and the canal bridge. Captured 40 prisoners, and have sent, since I left you, 800 cows and 300 or 400 sheep to the rear.
T. L. ROSSER,
P. S. -Averell or some other man has been after me all day. The regiment left in the gap has been fighting him.
T. L. R.
*Not found as inclosures.