War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0876 NORTH CAROLINA AND S. E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

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HEADQUARTERS,

Fredericksburg, February 14, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: I think it proper to report, for the information of the Department, that I have received this morning a letter dated Heathville, 10th instant, from Lieutenant C. Littleton Upshur, signing himself enrolling officer, stating that on the 9th and 10th transports of the enemy loaded with troops, horses, &c., passed down the Potomac. I do not know Lieutenant Upshur, but he states that he is directly on the river and can see all their movements. If they are anything more than convalescents returning to their commands south I think it probable they are re-enforcements for General Foster. I do not think that they were embarked at Aquia Creek, inasmuch as I have received a letter of the same date from a scout watching that position in which he states that a large number of the enemy is encamped at that point, and no mention is made of embarkation or transports. Other scouts on the Potomac have as yet reported no passage of troops down that river.

Captain E. P. Bryan, signal officer, whom I had directed to cross over into Maryland for the purpose of watching the Potomac on that side, I fear may not now be on that duty, as an order has been received here (Special Orders, Numbers 20, Paragraph XX, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office) directing him to report to General Beauregard, and he may have reported accordingly without my knowledge.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

February 14, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: After dispatching my letter to you this morning I received information from one of my scouts on the enemy's left that a small steamer with troops had on Sunday passed down the Potomac; that since that time seven large steamers and five or six transports, towed by the steamers and laden with troops, had also descended the Potomac.

On the 11th and 12th instant no movements had been observed.

This evening I received information from scouts on the enemy's right up to the 12th instant. Two report that the Ninth Army Corps of General Hooker's army had embarked at Belle Plains and sailed for Suffolk; that a large fleet of transports was at Aquia Creek, and there was other evidence of a general move. Their cavalry had been withdrawn from the Spotted Tavern and Hartwood Church toward the railroad, leaving pickets in their stead. Sigel's corps is still at Stafford Court-House. Three brigades had reached Washington. The infantry at Union Mills Fort (Bull Run) were leaving for Washington, and the cavalry for Stafford Court-House. Prisoners captured by General Hampton report that General Hays, with three regiments of infantry, seven pieces of artillery, and a squadron of cavalry, was to leave Union Mills Ford yesterday for

Washington.

I have directed General Pickett's division to march to-morrow for Richmond and General Hood's division to be held in readiness. One of the scouts reported that it was the Second Army Corps which had embarked for Suffolk. Although it is stated that their destination is