could also be formed at Fredericksburg. As to the quantity of provisions at each point you must judge; but noen ought to be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy, and to prevent which, when necessary, they must be destroyed. I presume General Johnston has informed you of his plans, and you will be able to regulate the amount of supplies by the number of troops, time, &c., he may expect to occupy that line..
I am, &c.,.
R. E. LEE,.
HEADQUARTERS AQUIA DISTRICT,.
Fredericksburg, March 15, 1862.
Your letter is received. There is already in depot at Fredericksburg a large supply of commissary and quartermaster stores, and I will give direction for all that remains in the Northern Neck to be forwarded with the utmost dispatch, though I am almost certain that it will be unnecessary, as there is littl doubt that the status of this part of Virginia will be fixed long before the present supply is consumed. There appears to be no doubt that Hooker's division has crossed the river at Evansport, and that a column of 5,000 or 6,000 men have reached Brentsville from the direction of Manassas. Dumfries is also occupied in force, whether from Evansport or via the Occoquan, I can't say. All of which seems to indicate a concentration by the enemy for an attack on Fredericksburg; and I am clearly of opinion that they should be met and given battle before they reach this city. I have directed Colonel Maloney to concentrate his forces for the defense of Fort Lowry, and I have also caused a battery of four guns to be placed on the Rappahannock 4 miles below here..
I am, general, very respectfully,.
TH. H. HOLMES,.
MARCH F16, 1862.
I open my letter to communicate information obtained last night. Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, who has charge of my cavalry picket of observation, reports that the enemy landed a part of their force below the Chopawamsic and marched up that creek to the point where the Telegraph road crosses it. This indicates a concentration of their forces before marking on Fredericksburg, and if they are not met before reaching here the fate of the town and depot is selaed, for they cannot be held an hour after the enemy have taken possession of the heights which command them on the opposite bank of the river..
General Johnston was yesterday at the Rappahannock Station, more than 40 miles from here. I know nothing of his plans, and have received no instructions for my guidance. I sent him an express last night with a letter from myself and one from General Whiting, urging the necessity of a concentration of our forces here to enable us to give battle before the enemy reaches here. If this town is abandoned you may expect an utter demoralization of the people, which I greatly fear will be reflected on the troops. These at present are in high state of discipline and are most anxious to meet the enemy, but they are not veterans and cannot be relied on in a retreat. The object of the enemy.