stampede to-day, caused by reports from Pohick again. Stuart made an expedition in that direction on Sunday, and this, I suppose, is retaliation.
You talk of huts for winter; it is rather a trying subject. I am afraid the Northern people are waiting to disturb us as soon as we have become comfortable for the winter. This place is not fit for our winter residence on any account. If I had not been confident that we should have been attack here before this time, the troops should have been established nearer to you, that material assistance might have been more promptly given. The difficulty of getting our supplies from Manassas in increasing fact; the roads becoming worse and worse fast. The amount of fortification here now is frightful; I fear that it will be harder to reconcile our troops to leaving them than it was to the falling back from Darkesville.
As to the removal of the guns from Evansport to your new position, you and General H. must determine it. I have no means of deciding between the relative mentis of the two placed. But strength on the land side I hold far more important than exemption from liability to bombardment. How is the comparison in regard to facility of succor? I should suppose the upper position more within our reach than the other.
13th.-Stuart reports from Lieutenant-Colonel Wickham, Sixth Virginia Cavalry, that the expedition of yesterday was of 1,500 infantry, a squadron and five field pieces, which went as far as Mrs. Violet's; a large part of the infantry going as far as Occoquan Creek, on Telegraph road, piloted by Joseph Stiles. Six hundred infantry went to Colchester, piloted by Jonathan Roberts. They are supposed to have bivouacked last night beyond Pohick.
Very truly, yours,
J. E. JOHNSTON.
CENTREVILLE, VA., November 13, 1861-10 p. m.
Brigadier General W. H. C. WHITING, near Dumfries, Va.:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I believe you are nearly correct with regard to your conjecture as to the future movements of the enemy. Those balloon ascensions indicate either offensive or defensive movements, most probably the former. A few days more and we will have this place strong enough to detach a brigade to re-enforce you, i. e., in my opinion, for General J. must decide, and then we could be ready to march a large force to your relief, if you could hold out for one or two days with the assistance of Holmes, who ought to sacrifice, if necessary, some of his minor positions to save Evansport. Have Triplett's and Powhatan Hills been fortified, as had been determined upon; if not, why not? Those and Talbot Hill are the keys of that position; no time ought to be lost in fortifying them, even if it were only for infantry, for if the enemy takes them, how long would the batteries hold out? Not ten minutes! Can you not have it done at once if not already done? I think also the line of the Occoquan to be very important so long as the enemy does not land below it; but where have we the forces to occupy it? We have just lost one of our most important brigades (Jackson's), which has been sent to the valley of Virginia. It would have been worth its with in gold with you at this moment.
I cannot approve of withdrawing Evans from Leesburg except for a battle. We cannot afford to lose that important point on our left flank so long as we hold this position. .