regiment, Eighth Virginia Cavalry, is under orders to report to same officer, or General Marshall, according to circumstances. Colonel Jenifer's movement has been delayed, as I presumed, from the instructions I received changing his position, that it was the intention of the Department to send an infantry regiment to replace this regiment of cavalry.
Looking on the approaches to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad as the most important line under my charge, I was unwilling to leave it guarded by a regiment of infantry much reduced in numbers. Colonel Jenifer has managed up to this time to subsist his horses by scattering them over several counties, leaving the horses in charge of a few men. He has been doing infantry duty with the remainder. The Forty-fifth Regiment being now under orders for Tennessee, I shall direct Colonel Jenifer at once to comply with the requirements of telegram of the 18th of March.
The forces under General Edward Johnson having been drawn from the position occupied by them leaves the country to my right open. The New River line being abandoned, leaves open all the approaches to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad as far down as General Marshall's right, which rests now at Jeffersonville, Tazewell County. you will command, amounting to 1,700 (aggregate), can be of no service in this country. In fact the moment Staunton falls our subsistence is cut off. This country is destitute of corn. The only means by which an army could be sustained on this line would be by drawing upon the country between Jackson's River and Staunton for corn. The quartermaster informs me he can only obtain corn for a few days longer. Apart from supplies, the withdrawal of the force on my right and left leaves this force not only useless, but in a position to be cut off by a force advancing through Huntersville, in Pocahontas, in connection with an advance into Monroe County. There is nothing now to prevent the former, and will be in a few days nothing to prevent the latter movement except the condition of the roads.
I would respectfully suggest that this force be ordered to some point on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and join that army east or west, or occupy that point which in your judgments you deem best. In anticipation of such an order, or of circumstances forcing me to adopt this or some similar course, I have directed all surplus stores to be sent to Buchanan and thence to Lynchburg.
Colonel McCausland's regiment, Thirty-sixth Virginia, was furloughed by General Floyd until the 1st of May, and disarmed by General Smith when passing through Knoxville; the men are scattered over South-western Virginia, but are being collected. Otey's battery I will order to Bonsack's Depot. Vawter's artillery company, organized, but without guns, will be ordered to the same point.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT,
Swift Run Gap, April 23, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding C. S. Army:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 21st instant has been received.
Banks' main force is still in the vicinity of New Market, extending